The Shepherds and the Angels
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
Essential workers of the day, shepherds lived a nomadic life in the fields, excluded from the purity of the temple. They were surely a rough and suspect bunch. Yet God upended human order by revealing the birth of Jesus first to shepherds in the hills of Bethlehem rather than to the religious community, political leaders, or the rich and powerful.
Perhaps we all have something in common with these shepherds who found themselves in the presence of the angel and the dazzling brightness of the glory of the Lord. Scripture tells us that they were filled with fear. They were sore afraid. We too are prone to be fearful of many things: illness, aging, financial hardship, senseless violence, social change, acts of war, and natural catastrophes. The list could go on and on.
Just as the good tidings of great joy, peace and goodwill were delivered for all the people of the world two thousand years ago, through Christ they are given to us today, so that we need not be afraid.