“The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. Today your Saviour was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord’” (Luke 2:10-11).

The story of the shepherds is well-known, but God sometimes surprises me when I think again about the familiar. This verse seemed to jump out at me recently: “When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem. Let’s see this thing that has happened which the LORD has told us about’” (verse 15).

I’ve often heard those shepherds referred to as the lowest of the low. Jewish maybe, but nowhere near Rabbi status; undoubtedly smelly; considered nothing more than outcasts, and yet … ‘Let’s see this thing which the LORD has told us about’? They didn’t say ‘God in heaven’, or even ‘The God of our ancestors’; they called Him LORD. Here were this group taking care of their sheep, and already under God’s authority – so much so that when a prompting came from Him, they hurried to follow it.

I really want to be like those shepherds – quick to obey, and quick to praise. After their time with the baby Jesus, Luke tells us: “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen” (Luke 2:20). Wouldn’t it have been great to be in the fields near them? I wonder what the sheep made of it all.

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