I have to be honest. I have found this journey a little difficult at times. It is still early on, but there are so many perspectives that I had not taken into view. As I study, a bit ahead of where we are on this blog, I find myself veering wildly back to what I have always known and not taking time to stop and soak in the peripheral matters. A quick example of this would be if you had ever fallen asleep on a road trip. You may wake up as you arrive at the destination. “We’re here!” If you were a child, you are just happy to be where you were headed. If you were the adult you may have realized that you used a certain amount of gas, the drive was rough as it had been raining most of the way, you narrowly avoided a few accidents, there was a beautiful scene as the sun set, seeing those three deer in the field, a semi truck flipped over, etc etc etc.
There is a lot going on in the story of Jesus.
The more I find as I begin to unpack, the more I realize that I am the kid sleeping in the car.
I am not sure exactly what the night of Christ’s birth. We certainly know there were visitors, but as I mentioned before, it probably didn’t look quite like the scene that we have derived from Francis Assisi’s nativity. The magi didn’t come to see Christ for a few years after His birth. The Shepherds were alerted via angel announcement. Both were miraculous.
I wonder, when Mary and Joseph heard how the shepherds and then the magi were led to Jesus, what that must have been like.
First, the shepherds, they were never considered to be high class. Certainly, it would seem that it was a life that could support your family. Finding a job as the temple shepherd, as it would seem these shepherds were, would be a good shepherding job. However, the hours weren’t great, as we see these gentlemen watching sheep at night. Think about that, watching sheep…at night. Having to stay alert and awake to watch sheep and make sure nothing harmed them. Pretty exciting stuff there…but when something exciting did happen, it was highly dangerous. It was dangerous for the sake of the wellbeing of sheep.
Ironic that Christ was embarking on His dangerous mission for His “sheep”.
A normal, mundane night and all of a sudden a bright light with angels and singing…tell me that you wouldn’t find that scary. They had no way to explain it away. It was an angelic announcement of the birth of the Savior. These looked down upon people were the first to hear the announcement of the Savior. This all is recorded in Luke 2. They went to Bethlehem. It shows that Bethlehem wasn’t some large metropolis, because these shepherds found Jesus without the use of any crazy technology. They must have walked into town, saw a bit of a ruckus and realized that must be where a baby has been born.
Think about it. You hear the angels proclaim. You decide to go and check it out. Surprisingly, or maybe not, what they said was true. How could you deny that this is indeed the Messiah?
Often times as I read this, it is so static. I get to the destination that Christ was born and shepherds were involved and I lose the wonder of what happened. The perspective of the shepherds is just one angle, but how wonderful it must have been to be in a field, or on a hill, and the sky burst open with the celebration of the angel’s song. The angel’s announcement and then the physical confirmation as they walked into the tiny town of Bethlehem and found the Savior was indeed born as they laid their eyes on this newborn child. I mean, what did these guys say to their wives when they got home? Did they grab their families and come over the next day? Can you imagine their child’s face as they shared this story?
What a tremendous happening…and how often I miss it as a sleeping child on a road trip, I arrive at the destination without taking in all of the scenery, the details, and the conversation along the way. May we never lose our wonder.