This is a series of several blogs on the characters
that are part of the traditional Nativity scene
The shepherds were minding their own business, the business of tending their sheep, camped out under the stars outside of Bethlehem. But an angel was sent from heaven on a business trip to interrupt the shepherds’ night shift.
You have to wonder what heaven was like the moment before the angel left the throne of God with his assignment to bring good news to some shepherds tending their flock outside a village on the dark side of the earth. This angel would go alone at first, to make the announcement, then, right on cue, an entire host of angels were instructed to join him in glorious praise, all of which was choreographed by God the Father to announce the birth of His Son as a human being. Sure beats putting a one dimensional stork sign in the front yard announcing the birth of a child. There must have been no small measure of excitement in heaven. If angels get excited there must have been a great deal of it, the angels knowing they were about to overwhelm some unsuspecting shepherds with the best news the world ever had heard or would ever hear.
The coming of the angel to the shepherds, then an entire bunch joining him in praise of the birth of Jesus gives additional proof, among so much other proof, that Jesus stands alone in all of human history as unique. He is not just another great teacher or moral example; He’s God come to us! His coming and His life and mission here on earth can’t be ignored or taken lightly if one attempts, at all, to be a thoughtful person intent on grasping truth and responding to it appropriately.
After the announcement the angels returned to heaven, mission accomplished. Now it would be up to the shepherds to spread the good news that a savior had been born among us, one who is to be our Lord. The shepherds, after seeing the baby Jesus did their part of spreading the Word. Now, these many years later, it’s our turn to do what the angels and shepherds did on that night of all nights.
“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 that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord’… Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God… So when the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child…” (Luke 2:8-13,15-17)