It’s Christmas and it’s celebrated around the world. To many people, it is the most important holiday of the year. We look back at this once in eternity event when God Himself entered the world as a tiny baby.
His birth had been foretold. Hundreds of prophecies had given the time, location, circumstances and purpose of His coming. All of those prophecies came together on that one silent night in the little village of Bethlehem.
It wasn’t hailed by trumpets or announced or the evening news. The first to hear it were the most unlikely, and yet they were chosen to be the ones.
It happened like this…
It was a dirty job. It was a job that took you to the hills and fields. It didn't carry any glamor and was about as boring a task as you could do.
It had no honor or respect associated with it. Quite the opposite, in fact being a shepherd outside of Bethlehem meant you were looked upon as little better than a thief. You couldn't testify in a court of law because the word of a shepherd was not trusted. The position, not your life, told the tale. Being a shepherd was not just what you did, it was who you were, and you were at the bottom of the social barrel.
It was a necessary job because the shepherds on the Bethlehem hillside raised the sheep for the Temple sacrifices. They had to make sure that the lambs were protected and able to be presented without spot or blemish.
They knew their job, and they did it well.
When a mother sheep was about to give birth, the shepherds would take her to a protected area and keep watch over her. As soon as her little lamb was born, they would wrap its legs in strips of cloth called swaddling clothes and then place this baby sheep in a manger until it had settled down enough to stand next to its mother safely.
Their job was boring, dirty, mundane, and without respect. But they knew their job and they did it well.
And then that night, that one spectacular night, the mundane suddenly ran right into the miraculous. Their boring night watch was interrupted by a heavenly messenger.
"This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:12
They probably knew right where to go. They hurried off to find this Baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger. They were the first to meet the One who would be the Lamb of God.
And then they told. They told everyone they saw. These lowly shepherds who couldn't even testify in a court of law were the first to give testimony of the most important event in all of history.
They were the ones chosen to tell the world of the gift of Jesus.