The Shepherds In The Field

Imagine being a shepherd in ancient Israel: Your job is mundane, dirty, and maybe even a little frightening. You are out in the wilderness, away from any town, the only light you see at night comes from the fire around which we are huddled and the moon hanging overhead.

With the small field of vision, you’re supposed to not only keep track of the sheep but also protect them from any attacks.

Suddenly, you see a supernatural brightness- “the glory of the Lord” blinding you and there’s someone there, unlike anything you’ve seen before. Perhaps you immediately recognize that it’s the angel of the Lord, or maybe you are so confused that it takes a minute to sink in that this being is from the heavenly realm. Either way, you are so awe-struck that the angels first words are, “Do not be afraid.”

He says “Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be for all people. For these is one born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this is a sign for you. You will find a Baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger.”

I often wonder if the shepherds fell to the ground during this overwhelming experience. We know they were in fear, but can you imagine the flood of emotions they felt as they realized that the angel of the Lord was proclaiming the good news of the arrival of the Messiah!

The Messiah that was promised since Genesis 3, who would come and rescue all of mankind. For the Jewish people, this was the one they had been longing for. And the shepherds were some of the first to hear of His arrival.

If the knees of the shepherds hadn’t buckled by this point, you can be sure they did when suddenly the skies lit up and one angel became “a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill toward men.

It was no surprise that they immediately started to follow the star of Bethlehem to find the Child in the manger, and returned glorifying and praising God.

The shepherds experienced fear, confusion, awe and joy on that historic night. Every time I tell this story I am filled with awe when I try to envision the shepherds perspective on that holy night.

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