The Christmas Story: The Shepherds
“So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them… The shepherds returned, glorifying, and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”1
The shepherds were the first to be notified of Jesus’ birth and are an important part of the nativity story. We don’t know their names, or how many there were, but it is clear that God saw them as important.
When the angel appeared to them, they were just busy doing what they always did… taking care of their sheep. They were initially terrified as the glory of the Lord shone around them (I would be terrified too!), but once again, the angel tells them, “Do not be afraid” and goes on to tell them the joyous news of Jesus’ birth! What is interesting to note, is that the shepherds are the only ones who are told that they will find Jesus in a manger. Perhaps this is because they would understand it, as a manger was a feeding trough made of stone where the sheep could come to eat. They could identify with the life of a shepherd, which is what Jesus came to be to us… his sheep.
Just as shepherds take their sheep to receive physical food from a manger, we can find spiritual food in our Savior and Shepherd… Jesus, who being Lord of all, was born in the lowliest of places, making himself accessible to all those who seek Him. Once the shepherds saw Jesus, they became the first evangelists spreading the Good News with everyone!
The same invitation that was given to the shepherds that one starry night is also available to us today. Our Shepherd invites us to come to Him, the Bread of Life, the only one who fill the void within us. Once we accept this invitation, we are to do what the shepherds did and share the Good News of Jesus with all those around us! Jesus makes no exception of persons and is eager to embrace all those who come to Him.
Suggested prayer: Lord, your great love amazes me. It goes far and wide and is available to all who will accept it. Just as you gave the shepherds the privilege of meeting you that night, I know that you long for myself and others to come to you as well. You alone are my Good Shepherd in whom I can find refuge and where my soul can be satisfied. Thank you for accepting me just as I am, and for molding and making me after your will. In Your precious name I pray, Amen.
Luke 2:16-18, 20 (NIV).
All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.