Religion had become legalistic and judgemental. Some people thought shepherds were dirty, untrustworthy. They were not even allowed into the temple to worship.
Yet when God’s Son, Christ the Lord and Saviour was born in David’s home place of Bethlehem, Almighty God sent His mighty angels not to the palace to notify the existing king, nor to the Temple to invite the clergy, but first to a number of outcast shepherds, sleeping rough with their flocks.
‘The first Noel the angel did say, was to certain poor shepherds in fields where they lay...’
The message was very clear. Though others may criticize and exclude us we don’t have to be afraid of God.
Yes, like the shepherds we may be understandably overawed by His glory and His holiness, especially when we consider our many sins and failures, but the angel tells us not to let our fears defeat us.
Do we ever feel not good enough for God? Welcome to the human race – we aren’t!
But God Himself extends to us an invitation. With Him we are welcome.
In fact He desires reconciliation and peace with us and all mankind so strongly He has come to us in the flesh in the person of His Son. And as if it weren’t enough for the eternal co-Creator of the universe to take on a physical body and be nursed by a young virgin mother, His first cradle on earth was a manger, an animal trough in a stable.
‘Come and see’ says the angel to the gobsmacked shepherds, ‘your Saviour has come to you and He too is sleeping rough tonight, just like you!’
This child would grow and live an extraordinary life, like no other man, a controversial life people are still debating 2000 years later. He offered that life as an offering for sin on the cross that shepherds and kings and sinners of every background and description could find their way home to God.
Could come and join the celebration of the redeemed.
Could discover peace with God and have a very happy Christmas and promising New Year!