Shepherds are humble, unassuming people. So it’s awe-inspiring that an angel appears in the fields to personally pronounce the good news to them and offer a sign so they could verify this announcement. God can use anyone to spread God’s message.
The glory of the Lord shone around them (v. 9). I imagine this looking like fireworks on the Fourth of July, providing a spectacular display of light, color, and shapes that are visible for miles in every direction. Though the shepherds are terrified, they must have experienced an element of excitement, too. Think how verse 14 thrills audiences when it’s sung in a Christmas music performance, like Handel’s Messiah.
After the angels return to heaven, the shepherds go with haste to see Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. What do they think when they see the family in such humble surroundings? Do they realize that even the ordinary places of our world can shine with God’s presence?
Sometimes we let our relationship with God become routine, mundane, and lackluster. But when I think of all the blessings in my life, I am truly thankful. When we pay attention and seek God’s presence in our lives, ordinary moments will shine.
My daughter-in-law had a high-risk pregnancy, and I was extremely concerned for her and for my future grandchild. My prayer was that she would deliver a normal, healthy baby. When God provided our family with just such a gift, the first baby in our family for over twenty years, it was both a glorious and a humbling experience.
Today we remember that within the wonder surrounding the birth of baby Jesus, the divine and the humble merge. Whenever we experience God’s grace in everyday life, as we did when my grandson arrived, we know the joy of a truly happy ending.
Why does humility, which shepherds model so well, draw us closer to God?
God, humble me and help me become more intimate with you so that I can appreciate your wonder and mystery as the shepherds do. Amen.