If you knew the most important news in the history of the world, who would you share it with first? Would you go to the capitol to share it with the President and Congress? Would you go to a university to share it with scholars and scientists? Would you find the richest, most prominent business men? Or would you go to the churches and tell all the preachers, pastors, and priests?
Amazingly, when the Savior of the world was finally born, and the most important news in the history of the world was ready to be shared, the angels charged with sharing it were sent to none of these places. They did not go to the palace, the universities, the chamber of commerce, or even the Temple and its priests. Where then? To whom did they take the news of great joy?
To shepherds, the Bible tells us. Shepherds?! Of all of the people in the world, all of the kings, artists, philosophers and priests, God chooses shepherds to receive the great news? Surely there must be some mistake. Shepherds were not “respectable” people. They were not high-society. They were not politically influential. They were certainly not “church people.” Shepherds were rough, crude, and smelly. They had to rely on the pastures of others to keep their flocks fed. Shepherds were outcasts!
But it was no mistake. From the moment of his birth, Christ has reached out to the outcast. The rough, the crude, the smelly, the addict, the felon, these are the ones to whom God sends his angels with honor. I pray that this Christmas season, we learn to see as God sees. I pray that we share with the “shepherds” of our own communities, and that we listen as God speaks through them to us.