“There were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them.” (Luke 2:8-9)
Have you ever felt like a nobody? Have you ever been dissed, or rejected, or pushed aside because you do not “measure up?” Have you ever been the brunt of someone’s jokes? The object of people’s contempt? Put in your place by people who think they are above you? Have you been the scorn of society? Or felt like an outcast?
Welcome to the life of a shepherd, at the time of Jesus’ birth. They were the “lowlifes” of their time. Their work was necessary (sheep were a good business), but the ones responsible for their care were not very well-respected. People were quite content to have shepherds keep to themselves – out in the fields with all those ignorant (and smelly!) sheep. Shepherds were, largely, unwelcome in society – as they were often crude and not very socially “literate.”
It is simply fascinating that when it came time for God to “bring the fanfare” on that first Christmas night… that He chose to put on His show for the nobodies of society. God didn’t send His angels to the priests. Or to the rulers. Or to the most influential and important people of society. He sent His angels to the outcasts, the vagabonds, the social misfits.
Why would He do that??
It seems obvious to me that God has a Heart for the downtrodden, the despised, the disparaged of life. He has a real soft spot for hard cases – who have known nothing but contempt and derision all their lives. God seems to enjoy seeking out “losers” and outcasts and making them feel welcome… important… like they just might belong.
If we are honest, most of us fit more into the category of the “unimportant” than that of the “important.” There are far more “insignificants” than “significants” in this world. Those of us who live lives that are unremarkable and ordinary, far outnumber those who find fame and acclaim (even if their lives may seem more important to the world).
God could have sent His angels to anybody on this planet. But He chose to send His angels to the downtrodden, the forgotten, the rejected, the nobodies of this life. He made them the object of His fanfare. He made them the audience for His spectacle. He made them feel as if they weren’t so insignificant after all. If God could take the time to make them feel important, then He can make anyone feel important.
And that is at the heart of the Christmas story. God has come to the despised and rejected, the broken and the hurting, the ordinary, the failing, and the downtrodden. He seeks out the outcasts to make sure that they are the “included” in His Kingdom.
For anybody who has ever felt like those shepherds of old… God’s announcement is for you…