Have you considered what it would have been like to be one of those shepherds Luke tells us about? A cold cold night. Probably lots of counting to make sure the sheep were still all there. Huddled around a fire. Wondering what they could do to improve their lot in life. Shepherding was not exactly a white collar job. It was dirty and hard and really at the low end of the economic chain. And frankly sheep are stupid – ever try to deal with one? I haven’t really but did have a slight experience the year Larry decided to include live animals in the Sanctuary at First Jackson. It had been a long week. We were at dress rehearsal. It was a “surprise” to the choir and none of that was the poor sheep’s fault. In fact the incident got a group of Sopranos so wound up they came completely unglued and for the several years since have been known to me and among themselves as “the stupid sheep!” I will protect them by not naming them but it fit, or at least it did that night.
Well – hay was flying everywhere. And sheep —- was dropping everywhere. And the poor sheep was scared out of his mind – totally out of his element and confused. Yet when his handler, the shepherd, picked him up and took him out of the chaos, he calmed down (and never was invited back to the FBCJ sanctuary!)
The job of the shepherd was critical. Because Christ was called the Lamb of God, the announcement of His birth to the shepherds was significant. In Malachi, the prophecy was that “He will arise and shepherd his flocks.” Guess what, we all fall into that “stupid sheep” category because we are so very much in need of The Shepherd.
In Luke 2, we learn that the angels made this glorious announcement to the shepherds first, inviting them to come to see this baby in that lowly cave. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased. (Luke 2:8-14 NASB). Those shepherds were invited to most important baby announcement ever made. And the Angels issued the invitation.
Angels We Have Heard on High. I believe.
Still choosing joy!