“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 of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8–12, NIV84)
In our last devotion we pointed out how sublime the events surrounding Jesus’ birth seem to have been. There didn’t appear to be any fanfare. Nature did not explode in response to the birth of God’s Son. In all the events surrounding Jesus’ birth, God is telling us that His work of salvation is for the average person living the average life. He is also telling us that He can do amazing things with and through the ordinary.
Given all that, I can’t help but smile when I read the verses we are focusing on today. On the evening of Jesus’ birth, God couldn’t help but have a little fanfare. God allowed the divide between Heaven and this world to be opened so that the residents of this world might see the reaction that the heavenly residents had because of Jesus’ birth. And who did He choose to reveal this to? Did He pick the politically powerful Romans? No! Did He pick the spiritually powerful Pharisees? No! He picked the lowest of people in the Jewish culture — shepherds. To shepherds who were out in the hillside doing what they did every night, God revealed the heavenly celebration of Jesus’ birth. You can’t read this section of Scripture and miss the point that God is telling us that this Savior came for ordinary people like you and me.
Just listen to the words of the angel, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” Again, who did God share this amazing message with? Ordinary shepherds. Ordinary shepherds who were moved to go into town to see for themselves what the angel had proclaimed. The Lord shared equally amazing news with ordinary people like you and me when He told us about the death and resurrection of that same Jesus.
It is amazing how God couches the miraculous in the common and then entrusts the common to share the miraculous.