When I (Rebecca) was young, I remember my dad reading us the Christmas story from the book of Luke but I also remember him reading us another great Christmas classic called The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. Today I share an excerpt from it that makes me laugh but also reminds me of the first to hear the news of Jesus’ birth…the shepherds.
I have heard mixed reviews on this group of people. Some say they are outcasts and rejected by society. It was a dirty job tending sheep, spending your days and nights out in the fields and always on the lookout for predators. But then you see God use the metaphor of a ‘shepherd’ throughout scripture. In fact, some of the great heroes of the Bible were shepherds – Moses and King David. There were female shepherdesses too – Rachel (wife of Jacob) and Zipporah (Moses’ wife). There are more than 90 references to a shepherd in the OT and another 23 in the New Testament.
I’m asking all the questions of this amazing moment in history found in Luke 2:8-20.
- How many angels were there in the sky?
- Could there have been thousands upon thousands?
- The light must have been blinding – did it light up the sky so much that Mary and Joseph saw it?
- I wonder if not only the shepherds, but other townspeople heard the praise of the angels? It must have been loud!
- Billy Graham says he believes that God chose to announce Christ’s arrival to shepherds in order to show His great love for everyone.
- Alfred Edersheim said God had a divine purpose announcing Christ’s coming to shepherds first because they were caring for the sheep used in sacrifice at the temple. Another sacrificial lamb would come from this town and he would take away the sins of the world.
- I believe God saw their humble state and knew they would receive the news with joy and trust. They had nothing to bring, they were poor and dirty. They believed what the angel said and went, without questions. They shared with everyone they met…no overthinking or social fear. They were the kindest first visitors to welcome infant Jesus and his parents.
We may feel like shepherds sometimes. Working day and night without much praise or acknowledgement. Leading sheep…I mean, kids, to food and water and keeping them safe from harm. We are tired of doing the same thing day after day and wonder if there is more to life for us. God has a special message just for you because what you do and who you are matters to God. He loves you so much, MAMA.
Isaiah 40:11, “He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.”
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