That night 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. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
The Son of God. The King of Kings. The Messiah. Here was the one who would save the people of Israel. He would claim the throne of David and rule Israel as a sovereign nation for the first time in several centuries, or so they thought. God’s plan was much bigger.
You’d think the occasion would call for royal invitations, receiving dignitaries, press releases, social media campaigns, commercials, t-shirts (“Bethlehem Inn” or “I saw Jesus”), and don’t forget the selfies with Jesus! Well, maybe not. It would be so different nowadays, though. Still, the Son of God was born and the best the angels could do is tell a few dirty, mangy shepherds?
God doesn’t care about publicity. He doesn’t do mass marketing. He works one person at a time. One by one, the word will spread. That’s how the Great Commission works. That’s how the ministry of Christ worked as he healed people. And that’s how the arrival of the Messiah worked—one lowly shepherd telling another average citizen in town for the census. All who heard the shepherd’s story were astonished.
God chose the shepherds to be part of God’s story. They didn’t deserve it. No one does. Nevertheless, God chose them and they participated in a holy moment. They interacted with God-in-the-flesh.
When God chooses us to participate in his story, it doesn’t mean we’re the most qualified, the best prepared, or the most worthy. God chooses to work through our weaknesses to display his strength. He looks for our willingness, an open heart. God does the rest through us.
Like the shepherds, we don’t have to have a social media following, an audience, or a platform. We just show up. That’s all the shepherds did. They showed up. God invited them to be part of his story and they showed up. Then, in their uncontainable joy, they told everyone they saw.
Lord, thank you for inviting me to participate in your story. Thank you for choosing me to participate in your plan. I don’t ask for a major role. It’s not about me. But like a humble shepherd, I come as I am to see what you want to show me. I will tell others what I have seen you do. After all, a witness simply tells others what he or she has seen and heard. Give me opportunities to see you at work so I can rejoice and share those moments with others.
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