“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’” - Luke 2: 8-12
And then we know a great company of angels began to sing praise to God and blessings of peace to people on earth whom God approved. Next, the shepherds went to see the baby Jesus and began praising God and telling others about what they had seen.
When I was very young, I used to think of the shepherds as something like admirable rustics, country folk who were simple, basic, and good. Frequently, though, the rough tribes of herdsmen who roamed the land outside of Bethlehem were hard, dangerous, sometimes even bad-tempered, violent men.
The law of the tribe was hard, and while everyone had a place who respected the tribe leader and his close friends, the life of a wandering shepherd and his family was difficult and poor.
Yet God chose to announce the Good News of Jesus’ birth to these humble folk who frequently struggled with poverty and want. Living in tents, moving to find grazing for the flocks, they owed a rough loyalty to their tribe and did the best they could.
God seems to have a special love for struggling folk who do the best they can, and so the angels appeared to them with news of the greatest event in history. Many were sinners who needed to have faith begun or restored. Every one of them needed the salvation of Jesus. The gift of the miraculous birth was a blessing for all time to nourish their hearts, souls, minds and spirits.
So it is today. Godless living, violence, crime, sexual immorality, poverty, want, and sometimes disaster and disease pervade the world. One need only turn on the T.V. or listen to the news to get a sampling of the pervasive ills of this weary world. Still and yet, mankind needs the saving news of Jesus Christ. Still today, humble men and women strive to live faithful, Godly lives even as they face the reality of poverty and want. Still we believe God must love the humble folk who try to love and serve his Son Jesus.
Still today, salvation is available to all who come seeking Jesus, the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Savior of mankind. Praise and glory be to God most high who meets our needs, loves us, and saves us still.
Mary-Ellen Grisham is a Christian writer living in Godfrey, Illinois, with her family. She is the Editor of Eternal Ink, a Christian ezine newsletter, and the author of a new book Grace Notes. She can be reached at email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org