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Shepherds: Christmas Series Part 11

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Luke 2:8

Working men—shepherds—were out in the field, doing what they had done all their lives—working their trade. It was to such hardworking laborers that the heavenly announcement came.

In our day, perhaps the good tidings of great joy would have been announced to cops on the beat or to paramedics on a run. Perhaps linemen repairing fallen wires or retail associates arriving early to the store would be the recipients of the big announcement. Maybe some Denny’s servers or cooks on their break during the overnight shift would receive the angelic proclamation.

To be sure, wise men, with their learned calculations and studious research, would find their way to the newborn King, but God made certain that common “blue collar” laborers of the day were given a VIP invitation straight from Heaven itself.

What was it about these shepherds that merited such an angelic visitation? Had they proven that they possessed impeccable knowledge of Scripture? Had they demonstrated profound spiritual proclivities? Were they skilled in ascertaining the move of the Spirit? Had they ever been established as reliable prophetic voices? No, no, no, and no. Why, then, would God condescend to send His angels to them?

Sometimes when I hear of pedigrees and qualifications bandied about in the Church as to why God will speak to some in our time but not others, I wonder if we really understand the Lord at all.

From God our heavenly Father
A blessed angel came;
And unto certain shepherds
Brought tiding of the same;
How that in Bethlehem was born
The Son of God by name.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy!” (First published in 1760; author unknown.)

God knew what He was doing when He sent the angelic host to that certain band of shepherds who were abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. God hit the bull’s-eye by choosing rough, common folk to receive angelic revelation. He was setting the stage for the proper functioning of His Church way back in the infancy of His Son’s earth life. He was revealing with every detail of the nativity what really mattered to Him; He was revealing the invaluable estimation He placed on every soul.

God rest ye merry, gentlemen,
Let nothing you dismay,
Remember Christ our Savior
Was born on Christmas Day;
To save us all from Satan’s power
When we were gone astray.

O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy,
O tidings of comfort and joy!

Despair, oppression, and immovable restrictions upon individual lives were lifted when souls came to faith in Christ. No longer were men and women held in bondage to the stifling limitations imposed upon them by governments or religion. Certainly, not everyone opened up to the freedom that came through faith in Christ. As a result, outward opposition to such liberty still existed, yet those who found rest and rebirth in Him experienced a freedom that defied the oppression of man—and it liberated them from the power of the devil.

Indeed, the message proclaimed to the shepherds was wondrous and utterly inclusive: Unto you is born this day a Savior. Unto you—no matter how insignificant you may think you are—has come a Deliverer. You have been chosen to be recipient of God’s greatest gift to the earth—His Son Jesus Christ.

What a comfort! What a joy!


© 2015, Dorothy Frick