I’ve been thinking about the shepherds in the Christmas story today.
Have you noticed how often shepherds are mentioned in Scripture? (Abel, Abraham, Isaac, David … Jesus!)
Could it be that God chose to announce the birth to the most ordinary people of the time?
Could it be that the Great Shepherd wanted his cohorts to know about his birth first?
In 1700, the Poet Laureate of England, Nahum Tate penned these words:
While shepherds watched their flocks by night,
All seated on the ground,
The angel of the Lord came down,
And glory shone around.
“Fear not!” said he, for mighty dread
Had seized their troubled mind;
“Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind.
“To you, in David’s town, this day
Is born of David’s line
A Savior, who is Christ the Lord,
And this shall be the sign:
“The heav’nly Babe you there shall find
To human view displayed,
All meanly wrapped in swathing bands,
And in a manger laid.”
Thus spake the seraph and forthwith
Appeared a shining throng
Of angels praising God on high,
Who thus addressed their song:
“All glory be to God on high,
And to the Earth be peace;
Good will henceforth from heav’n to men
Begin and never cease!”
Goodwill … begin and never cease!