Glory to God in the highest! The Celebration of the Incarnation of God has begun! Merry Christmas!
Every year, I try to reflect on a different aspect of the Nativity. There are so many beautiful parts of the Nativity that deserve contemplation, but for the purpose of this reflection I would like to draw your attention to the shepherds.
Shepherds lived a relatively simple life. They never had much money and often times spent their days and nights tending to their sheep in the fields. They were thankful when tending to the sheep was uneventful, as it meant their flock was safe. They were marginalized, outside the boundaries of the town community.
On the night Christ was born, shepherds gathered together for camaraderie. After they had spent some time together, an angel of God appeared to them announcing “Good News of great joy!” How stunned and surprised they must have felt to see with their own eyes a messenger from the Lord! The angel announced that the Savior of the world had been born! Then, much to their surprise, witnessed the whole host of heavenly angels singing praises: “Gloria in excelsis Deo!” “Glory to God in the highest!”
These humble shepherds were the first to be called by God to go and greet the newborn King! What an amazing gift, that God called the humble and simple to share in the joy of His Incarnation, rather than those who were important and honored among society. What was God’s intention on calling the shepherds to partake in this glorious occasion?
I would argue, that God sees great value and dignity in the humble and meek of society. The birth of the Savior of the world and His appearance to shepherds reveals that each and every one of us is invited to come and meet Him.
God humbled Himself in the most profound way so that we could come to know Him and His perfect love for us. “Do not be afraid,” as the angel said, to come and behold the Christ who came as your Savior. In the shepherds’ realization and acceptance of the Good News, they demonstrate the perfection of faith in the most unlikely of places. Even at His birth, Jesus is challenging expectations and turning on its head the role of traditional religious authority. The shepherds, not the Pharisees or Scribes, were called to pay homage to the newborn King. How beautiful it is, that from the moment of His birth, Jesus seeks to bring those who are away from the community, the poor, simple, meek and humble to be the first to witness His birth and vulnerability.