Luke 2:10 “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.”
The message delivered by the angels on that night long ago was as much about WHO they delivered it to as WHAT they said. It was the unbelievable appearance of heavenly messengers to shepherds that makes the message of “joy” and “good will” so meaningful.
In the eyes of many of their day, an angel would never appear to a common shepherd.
Shepherds were not considered religious.
Due to the nature of their job they were seldom seen in “church (The Temple) worshiping God” and they were unable to keep the ceremonial laws of washing and cleansing to enter the Temple. They spent most of their time in the fields and around sheep, so they didn’t smell very good.
Their reputation was lowly at best and they were generally considered to be sinners in their day.
And yet, the first announcement of the arrival the Savior of mankind was delivered by the messengers of Almighty God, with all the splendor and glory of Heaven, to lowly shepherds.
It is also interesting that the announcement was not made in the Temple or in the Holy City of Jerusalem. Instead, God sent His message to an obscure hillside outside of Bethlehem. The angel’s message was one of reassurance and good news proclaiming the Messiah’s birth for all people. But the question remains; why to shepherds?
Perhaps it was because shepherds could understand the message. The Savior, now lying in the quiet manger, was to be the Lamb of God. And as the Lamb, He was destined to die for the sins of the world, to die for these very shepherds as their Savior and king.
So perhaps shepherds, who cared for the young lambs, who sat through cold dark nights in the fields guarding and protecting their flocks, would better understand the shepherd's heart of God the Father and appreciate what it meant for Him to give His “Lamb” for all people.
Today the glory of Christmas is still the same message of “good tidings of great joy” to all people. It is not dependent upon your spiritual status or your standing in society. The Joy of Christmas continues to be a gift sent from an Almighty God who still delivers it by heavenly messengers to the lowliest sinners and to the most obscure locations on the earth.
Unto you, whoever you are, wherever you are, and whatever your circumstance in life, is born a Savior, Christ the Lord. May the Joy of Christmas be yours!