Each year, it’s hard for me to take my eyes off of the wonder of God coming to Earth in the form of a humble infant Savior! But this year, as I consider those in the first nativity scene, I’m compelled to ask the question—why them?
Luke writes of that first Christmas party:
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 Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger (Luke 2:8-12 NIV).
Isn’t it interesting that the audience for whom God orchestrated the Christmas drama was sheep-smelly shepherds? No royalty (despite modern myth) or people of wealth. No Madison Avenue marketing execs ready to bring the Christ child into the limelight or politicians looking to get him on their team.
In fact, those shepherds became the first messengers of the Gospel. What a night! What a Savior!
Isaiah put it this way:
The runt will become a great tribe, the weakling become a strong nation. I am God. At the right time I’ll make it happen (Isaiah 60:22 MSG).
Like the shepherds, I needed hope as I entered my freshman year of college. I could have gone any direction—following a number of avenues of sinful behavior. In the early days of my college career the two dreams I had lived for were playing college tennis and excelling as a pre-med student. Those quickly became a false hope, never to be realized. I needed help in the form of God-encouragement, but had no idea on how to find it. God brought some other students into my life to tell me Gospel of Jesus. That Good News hit me right where I was at.
Like those first-century shepherds, I went from being a runt of a wandering freshman to a recipient of a Christmas gift—His gift—and soon had the wonderful name of Jesus on my lips.