What’s a birth without an announcement? And who deserves the very best announcement ever made? In ancient times (well, modern times too) royal births would spark great public celebration. But not that of Jesus. His announcement, while glorious, went to a very limited audience: certain shepherds who as it is usual for their profession, were in the fields. They were far from families for months and all they usually see were their sheep and each other. Not only did they represent poor working classes; these men were smelly, dirty, and possibly quite young. Certainly not in a mood for rejoicing or partying: night is when predators prowl, when rustlers rustle. Indeed, when the heavenly messenger appeared, the shepherds were sorely afraid. But their initial fear gave way to good news, amplified by celestial song. God was inviting these dirty, stinky fellows to come, see our Savior in a manger. As if the newborn was truly kin to them. As if he might be destined to become the greatest Shepherd of all. Or else, the Lamb of God….
Let’s pray: Jesus, tender Shepherd, hear me. Bless this fearful “sheep” tonight. In this darkness, be near me. Keep me safe till morning star lights again. Amen.