Tag Archives: Shepherds

Whose Life Matters?

Shepherds were outcasts, considered subhuman lowlifes.  Not welcome in town, they lived and slept out in the fields with the animals.  According to the American Journal of Biblical Theology,  “…because of their vocation, shepherds were considered unclean and could not take part in temple worship without ritual cleansing.  They were despised by the people, considered untrustworthy, and unable to testify in a court of law.”  Interesting it was shepherds to whom God initially announced the birth of Jesus. 

8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  (Luke 2:8-11)

People who could not readily enter the Temple were chosen by God to receive His most important message.  He chose people considered despicable and untrustworthy, unable to testify in court to be His first witnesses.

20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.  (Luke 2:20)

 Those marginalized and rejected by society were the very ones God chose!   But why?  Why not chose people more respected and trusted?  The answer is contained in verse 10 above.  One little word; can you see it?

It’s the word, “all.”  The good news of great joy would be for all the people.   Why all the people.  Because all the people mattered to God.  He loved all the people.  He sent His Son as a gift to all the people.

Even you.  You matter to God.  This good news is for you.

To slightly change what Tiny Tim said, “God blessed us, every one!”

Scary Christmas

His scream was blood-curdling.  But there was nothing I could do.  It was the middle of the night, the house was dark, and just as I approached the bathroom door, my little brother came out and saw me standing there.  He woke the whole family.  You should have seen what Dad looked like when came flying out of his bedroom…   I got thinking about that night as I read these familiar lines:

” 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.” (Luke 2:8-11)

Understandably, before the angel said anything about good news or about the Christ child being born, He said “Don’t be afraid!”  Don’t freak out, I’m not going to hurt you.  He probably was trying to stop all the screaming.  Can you imagine how the shepherds felt, out there in the field, minding their own business in the middle of the night, when suddenly they get lit up with a search light from above?  “Don’t be afraid!”

I’ve never seen “Don’t be Afraid!” on a Christmas card but maybe we should start adding that phrase to our Christmas greetings.  “Don’t be afraid – Merry Christmas!”  What do you think?  I sense a lot of fear out there concerning the Christmas message.  People seem to want to make Christmas go away.  Perhaps it frightens them?  It used to frighten me, back when I was a confirmed doubter.  I didn’t want to be a sucker and buy into any false legends.  I was afraid to believe – kind of like a little kid on the end of a diving board for the first time.

I know better now.  Come on in, He won’t hurt you!  Don’t be afraid!  Merry Christmas!

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.