It was a night like any other night. Skies were clear, and the soft breeze cooled those sleeping under the stars. Under the same stars there were all kinds of people. Fathers and daughters. Noblemen and peasants. Believers and doubters. Young and old. It could have been any other night, except, it was the night that would change all nights.
According to Luke, an announcement was delivered – perhaps through a vision or perhaps through an apparition – to a group of shepherds watching over their sheep by night.
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” – Luke 2:10 esv
For all the people.
Before announcing the arrival of the Messiah – Jesus Christ the promised savior of Israel – the messenger made sure to let them know who the news was for.
Why shepherds though?
The angel had people who were more educated and more acquainted with messianic prophecies at his disposal. People who were more educated, and had much greater credibility and religious authority.
There were pharisees, scribes, priests, and people in government. Yet, this announcement of good news came to shepherds.
It was hard to be a shepherd. Shepherding was a 24-hour job. A shepherd would, during the day, take his flock to pasture, care and guide his flock, and tend to the flocks health. At night, the shepherd had to be on high alert against predators and robbers.
Can you imagine the pressure? The stress? The constant list of things to do?
A lot of work that went unnoticed and unappreciated.
A lot of work.
Can you relate? I think you can.
If you’ve ever gone to bed wishing you had more hours in the day, or if you’ve ever hoped you could add a couple days between Thursday and Friday because of all the things you had to do by the end of the week, you can relate.
Sometimes, it is hard to pause to believe; to allow ourselves to be interrupted so we can be reminded of promises and dreams we once lived for.
Have you ever heard someone encourage you, or say something that is so far from your present reality, you thought: “That is all wishful thinking. Nothing more.”
I would agree with you, except for the fact that the angel came to shepherds. People exactly like you, who had no time for interruptions. People who had forgotten the promise. Regular, seemingly insignificant shepherds. Shepherds on a field, while they watched their flock.
The promised Messiah had become wishful thinking, at best. Until a bright light shone across the sky of that ordinary night, and turned that ordinary night into the single most celebrated night in history.
When you feel tempted to feel down, to doubt, and to give up hope. When you get discouraged, because what you’ve been hoping for is taking too long to come true. When you feel like giving up, remember: He came to shepherds. The Good News is for you. Salvation is for you. Joy is for you. Peace is for you. The promise is yours.
He came to shepherds.
He came for you.
Join Us This Sunday!
Let’s end the year and give thanks together.
10:30am at Rippowam Middle School Auditorium.