Why The Shepherds?

It’s Christmas Day! As you think back to that first Christmas, when Jesus came to the world as a baby born to Mary and Joseph, what comes to mind? Perhaps you imagine shepherds and their sheep. You might also picture the three wise men bringing their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. I hope I’m not bursting anyone’s bubble, but the wise men weren’t there that night when Jesus was born. They actually came much later, most likely when Jesus was about two years old. That’s why King Herod, upon hearing of a new king, ordered all boys aged two years old and under to be killed. Herod didn’t want a new king. We also don’t know how many wise men came. The three represent the three gifts but there could have been many. Even though they weren’t present that night it’s lovely to think of them and how they followed the star to Bethlehem to worship the new king born there.

The night Jesus was born, the shepherds were the only visitors. They had been tending their sheep when a great, bright light shone all around them. They were terrified! Why be scared of a bright light, we might wonder. Remember, there was no such thing as electricity. Today, we might see such a brightness and wonder if search lights were shining. The shepherds had never seen electric light. As the brightness surrounded them, an angel spoke, announcing that Jesus had come to take away the sins of the world. They shared the news that He was born that night in Bethlehem. The shepherds went to see for themselves, and sure enough, they found Mary and Jospeh, with Jesus, who was lying in a manger.

Have you wondered why lowly shepherds were the only invited guests for such an historic event? There is wonderful symbolism in the shepherds with their sheep. You see, Jesus was coming as both, the Good Shepherd and the sacrificial Lamb. Jesus, like a lamb being led to slaughter, would give His life to pay for the sins of the whole world. Jesus would also be the Good Shepherd to all who know Him, caring for and guiding those who receive Him, just as a shepherd cares for and guides His sheep.

I hope you know Him; not just know about Him, but know Him. He’s only a prayer away.

Merry Christmas, everyone. May blessings of great joy be yours.

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