And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. Luke 2:8 KJV
When I briefly worked from 11pm till 6 am, I found myself suddenly a part of an exclusive group of people who only see the world from mid-night till dawn. On the night that Jesus was born, just above Bethlehem were shepherds who were the third shift workers of their day. The more important shepherds got the first shift jobs. But in the darkness of that night, those unnamed and seemingly unimportant third shift shepherds were about to become the first people on earth to hear the good news of Jesus Christ! That message was that God had remembered His people, He remembered Bethlehem and He even remembered shepherds whom everyone else had forgotten.
Did you ever stop to think that God also remembers you? He is not satisfied to visit only the better homes in the better neighborhoods with the biggest churches with their beautiful appearances. Just as the shepherds were watching their flocks at night so God watches over us when we are going through the darkest moments of our lives. He knows right where we are. He hears us and He still sends angels with His message of good news. There is no better place than right where you are to hear the news; that Jesus Christ came to bring hope and salvation to us all: even to third shift shepherds out in their fields at night!
The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. Psalm 23:1-2
I am so grateful for my Good Shepherd Jesus Christ. He sought me and found me. Then He has watched over me and protected me for fifty years (which seems like a long time to me but not to Him!) I hope this simple song may lead you to know Him or if you already know Jesus may it remind you again of His amazing love and faithful care!
What can I give Him, Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb,
If I were a Wise Man I would do my part,—
Yet what I can I give Him, Give my heart.
Christina Rosetti A Christmas Carol
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. Luke 2:20
I love Christina Rosetti and this poem of hers in particular, but in all actuality the shepherds did not bring a lamb. None of us would have even picked shepherds to invite to the outdoor maternity room. God had chosen Mary for her purity, Joseph reflected obedience and the wise men revealed the royalty of Christ. So what else could be added to that first Christmas? What the shepherds gave was a gift of humility. That gift of their humble praise echoed in the heart of Mary long after the sound of their footsteps vanished back into the night. Their joyful shouts even woke up the villagers and soon the good news of great joy spread throughout Bethlehem. Their very humility lent an authenticity to their message that no strangers bearing costly gifts could bring.
In fact throughout the earthly life of Jesus, that same humility tells the story of God’s love. We see it in a sinful woman’s tears washing Jesus’ feet at the home of a self righteous rich man. And there it is again in the humility of a Samaritan leper’s praise rather than his nine friends who never returned to give thanks. At the end of John’s gospel, Mary Magdalene waits outside the tomb weeping and asking someone she thinks to be the gardener if he knows where Jesus has gone. But when she hears that gardener call her name, she immediately knows that it is Jesus, and she falls in humility at His feet.
And what can we offer Him this Christmas? Costly gifts only reflect our lack of understanding of what matters most to God. He waits for simple shepherds, forgiven sinners, cleansed lepers and the broken hearted of every race, tribe and tongue to come. But if, as Christina Rosetti tells us, we give Him our heart, we will find Him delighted to welcome us for He is at most home with those who most reflect the humble heart of Jesus Christ.