So yesterday I was thinking about the shepherds. You know the ones? Those “In the fields by night” kind of guys. I had to teach kids about them once and to help them appreciate the shepherds position in life we talked about how smelly they would be. I know….not very spiritual….but true. Think how you would smell if you were in the fields outside of town with just big fluffy sheep for companions?
Now some put shepherds in a category of outcasts from society, but others say they are just another group among the poor. Either way, they give us a picture of separation from other people and the normal rhythms of life. To have a big flock, you would need a big area of grass to feed them. Have you ever seen sheep go through a field? And when that field is done, you need to move them to another one. The life of a shepherd was not a normal one of home and family.
So…Why do the angels tell these guys? Was heaven so crazy with excitement that it could not contain the celebration? The party was so wild that the heavens split and the craziness spilled out into the hills of Bethlehem. I don’t know about that, but all I do know is that these were the men who first heard confirmation of this incredible birth. On that night, the angels could not contain the joy of heaven and brought day into night. And they brought it to these men. The outsiders, the humble, the poor single guys who might not have smelled really good.
While my life is nothing like the shepherds, I like their story because sometimes I feel like I am on the outside looking in. I used to hate that feeling, but now I see that it has its advantages. Many times it gives me a different perspective, and I am grateful for that view. Sometimes, like those shepherds I feel like heaven opens up and gives me a view of something other worldly. Something beautiful! Those are the times I am grateful for who God has made me, but I still fight it. It feels lonely sometimes, trying to find a place where you fit. Now don’t get me wrong, I seem to be able to pass through many groups but while I can do that I am never totally comfortable where I am. I guess that seems to be the way God means for it to be, so I try to be content. And when I feel out of sorts about it, I remember the shepherds and the amazing thing that happened to them that day. It was to them that the angels brought the best news of all…..
But the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.” Luke 2:10