Friday, December 23, 2011

About those Shepherds....

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
                                                                                          Luke 2: 8-10

A lot of times people talk about why the shepherds were the first to hear about Jesus' birth. The answer is usually that it was because shepherds were poor and on the fringes of society. Christ wanted to identify with those people. When taken with the visit of the rich and powerful wise men, the visit to the shepherds can show us that Christ came for all people.

I am sure that is true. But I wonder if there might be another reason as well. This isn't something I have heard before, but my theological reading hasn't been all that extensive.

I wonder if maybe God sent the angels to the shepherds first because.... God is a shepherd.

The Bible tells us that in the familiar 23rd Psalm. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." But there are numerous references to it as well:

A quote from Genesis 48 (Jacob speaking):

“May the God before whom my fathers
   Abraham and Isaac walked faithfully,
the God who has been my shepherd
   all my life to this day,
16 the Angel who has delivered me from all harm
   —may he bless these boys.
May they be called by my name
   and the names of my fathers Abraham and Isaac,
and may they increase greatly
   on the earth.”

King David, the man after God's own heart, was a shepherd boy when he was annointed.

Jesus, during his ministry, tells several parables about shepherds and identifies himself as a shepherd, perhaps as part of letting people know he is God. ( John 10: 1-21 )

Actually there are 118 references to shepherds in the NIV version of the Bible, according to  ( Shepherd references listing )  I think God has an affinity for shepherds and that is why he chose them for this.

Those are just some thoughts I have had on the Christmas story this season. What are yours?


Linus explains Christmas to Charlie Brown.  
Thanks, Charles Schulz


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