The Story of Christmas: Meet the Shepherds

Why did the angels seek out the “inferior” shepherds?

The Shepherds
The shepherds were the first to receive the good news of Jesus’ birth. And it was the angels who came to tell them.

You might imagine the shepherds in a pastoral setting—warm cloaks hugging their shoulders as they recline on a hill, watching their woolly sheep graze or snuggle each other. But shepherds at the time of Jesus’ birth were poorly clad, dirty, and used to living rough. They also had to be brave and hardy—constantly on the lookout and ready to protect their flocks from predators like wolves.

No one noticed their bravery, though; the shepherds were undervalued by their contemporaries. They were outsiders who lived on the edge of society. For the Jewish people of Jesus’ time, the shepherds had another mark against them—they did not observe regular worship.

So why did the angels seek out the shepherds? What influence could such an “inferior” group have? Was this God’s way of widening the circle to include all? of lifting up the shepherds to let them know that they, too, mattered? Ask yourself:

  • In our society today, would those in the centre listen to miraculous news from someone on the margins? Would you?
  • Are you ready for the opportunity that God is offering you to enter the story?
  • What good news do you have to share? Do you hesitate, or do you share it freely?

Explore the characters in the Christmas story:

 And watch for more blogs retelling the Story of Christmas.

—Bethe Cameron from O’Leary West Cape Pastoral Charge, PEI