Do not be afraid.

Luke 2: 8-14

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Have you ever wondered why God appeared to the kings and the shepherds? In those days, the shepherds were considered the lowest rung of the social ladder, and the kings were the highest.   My post tomorrow will be about the kings, but today I want to talk about the shepherds.

The shepherd is mentioned quite often in the Bible.  Jesus is spoken of as the good shepherd (John 10:14); chief shepherd (1 Peter 5:4); great shepherd (Hebrews 13:20); the one shepherd (John 10:16). “He will feed his flock like a shepherd, he will gather the lambs in his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and will gently lead those that have their young” (Isaiah 40:11) is a picture drawn from pastoral life of Yahweh’s care over His children.  The birth of offspring in a flock often occurs far off on the mountain side. The shepherd anxiously guards the mother during her helpless moments and picks up the lamb and carries it to the fold. For the first few days, until it is able to walk, he may carry it in his arms or in the loose folds of his coat.

Just as the shepherd carries and guards the sheep, Jesus was sent to carry and guard us.

Jesus was born in a stable, and placed in the hay.  God sent angels to announce the birth to the shepherds in the field, the ones that were off cast of society.  They were men who probably wore wool, and lived in the woods.  They were probably dirty and smelled.  They were probably the last ones that thought they would be chosen to visit a Savior at his birth.  And yet, they were.  The “least among them” were the first.

So why did God invite the shepherds?

I think that He was showing the world how important each and every one of us is.  He was giving His greatest gift, His Son, to everyone.  He was inviting everyone to be with Jesus and to celebrate His birth.  God became flesh to save you and I.

Dear God,
Forgive us when we look down on the weak and broken of this world. Help us to be more like Jesus, the one you sent to show us how to be shepherds of all people. Grant us wisdom, patience, generosity and love for ALL our fellow men, women and children. And until we join you in Heaven, please give us all peace.
Amen

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