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Perhaps you’re surprised I would ask the question in the title.

Please allow me to explain myself.

Jesus was and is God Almighty incarnate. The Creator of everything: time, space, gravity, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics, and all creatures that exist—in the body of a human being. This Creator God, innocent and holy, chose to come to Earth to be mocked, sacrifice Himself, and suffer punishment to free from slavery and sin the people He had created.

Yes. The Creator of all things purposed to be hated and die.

The birth of Jesus is a wonder-beyond-words event, unlike any other in the history of the world. How would you have announced it? Don’t hurry to answer this question. To spur your thinking, how would you announce that a famous speaker was coming to your church? Would you drive out into a rural area and tell some people who were harvesting strawberries or picking apples? Who were wrangling cattle? Well, that’s something like how the Lord did it. After an angel appeared to a group of shepherds out in a field and said, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (Luke 2:10–12)1, this happened:

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!’” (Luke 2:13–14).

Just another night in shepherd paradise, right? Can you imagine? This had never happened before and would never happen again. A whole bunch of angels standing and praising the Lord right in front of the bewildered shepherds.

So, in our I-wouldn’t-do-it-that way scenario, the ranch and orchard laborers would be standing in a field or in a copse of trees seeing perhaps hundreds—we’re not told the number—a multitude—of angels praising God. That might change one’s perspective. You might lay down your work gloves, or climb off the ladder, or stop moving cows, and just let your jaw drop open.

This marvelous, beautiful, heaven-sent announcement and praising was in front of a few dirty, probably not-so-good-smelling shepherds.

Nothing wrong with shepherds. Scripture is full of positive examples, most notably David and Jesus. But, let’s be honest—these shepherds were poverty-stricken nobodies. They had voices, but they were small. They did not have the power to issue decrees, announcements, or proclamations. Just some guys with a boring job punctuated by moments of terror from the attacks of deadly beasts.

Why didn’t God choose a better method—from our way of thinking—of announcing this stupendous, world-changing event?

Really, Lord? Shepherds?

Yes. You’ve already thought of the answer. His ways are not our ways.

However, we should bring to mind the words the Lord put in Mary’s mouth when the fetus of John the Baptist leaped in his mother’s womb. Her praise included scattering the proud in the thoughts of their hearts, bringing down the mighty, exalting the humble, filling the hungry with good things, and sending the rich away empty (Luke 1:46-55).

Is it safe to say that scattering the proud in their thoughts might include powerful economic, religious, and political leaders not being told their Creator was born?

So, where does this put Christian believers this Christmas?

In humility’s place, I hope. In understanding that the people the Lord chooses are rarely those of high esteem and more often people like poor, unknown shepherds. He didn’t want nor need the high and mighty for this task.

He wanted the nobodies.

That’s just the way He works.

Really, Lord? Shepherds?



1All Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

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