Christmas is the time of the year when many cling to those church traditions of the birth of Christ. Luke writes of a time when God used those outside the conjecture of man, the church structure to bear witness of the birth of Jesus Christ. Humanly thinking, Jesus being the King of kings, one would think He would be born to royalty. Jesus being the King of the Jews, one might look for Him to be born in the holy city, Jerusalem, not Bethlehem, and surely, not born in a stable and laid in a manger.
There is much debate, speculation and misrepresentation about the birth of Christ. Grasping the Biblical truths will help you proclaim the birth of Christ like that of the shepherds. The Bible says, “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ [the Messiah] the Lord.'” (Luke 2:8-11)
First: These shepherds were men who can grasp the things of God in their mind and hearts with a servants attitude. In the written account of the public proclamation of the birth of Christ we read, “…When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’ So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.” (Luke 2:15-16) Life application for us – “Christians, who stir themselves up to be about their business for the Lord in their callings are able to receive divine revelations from the Lord as long as they know Him, love Him and are willing to obey His Word.” Second: Not only did their spiritual hearts enable them to get divine revelation, they were enlisted into His service. The Bible says, “When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. (Luke 2: 17-18) Many call the shepherds the first evangelist, they were not ashamed of the Gospel, not allowing it to be watered down with religious slogans or over shadowed by the issues of the day, but proclaimed what the angles had told them, “The Messiah has been born.”
One way of understanding Scripture is to take a look it from the time of which it was written. We do know that flocks owned by Temple authorities raised unblemished lambs for sacrifices in the Temple. These flocks were pastured near Bethlehem. It is not out of reason to think that the shepherds, the Angel of the Lord spoke to, over-saw the Temple flocks from were the sacrificial lambs were chosen. If that be the case, what a lovely thing for the Lord to have allowed these shepherds to be the first to see the lamb of God, Jesus in the manger, Who was born to be the perfect sacrifice for the sins of the world.
When focusing on Jesus being the reason for the Christmas season, one has to ask; What was in the hearts of the preachers and teachers of Jesus’ day, that kept them out of the loop of such an heavenly announcement. What viewpoint had such a control over governmental affairs that excluded them from hearing the public proclamation of the birth of the King of kings of Whom all will someday bow their knee too. One has to ask, “Do I have the heart of the shepherds?” One whom God could trust with the public proclamation, God’s Messiah, Jesus Christ was born on that first Christmas day.