The stars must have shone like diamonds in that cold crisp sky. On the hills outside of Bethlehem, the flocks had been gathered, and watch was being kept.
The shepherds outside Bethlehem, like most of the people of Palestine, were poor and insignificant men. They had no reason to expect that this night would be different from any other. But God had other plans. As proclaimed by the angels, this was the night when God Himself would come to earth.
The Christmas story takes us right from the manger to the fields nearby, where an angel appeared to some terrified shepherds.
This is a familiar and well-loved story. The story leaves us wondering why did God choose shepherds that night? Why didn’t God choose to appear to the religious leaders? Surely, they would have been excited after waiting for thousands of years to meet their Savior. Why not choose a king or a rich man whose testimony would have carried more weight? Why shepherds? Well, one reason was that shepherds could be humbled and amazed that God chose them to hear the news. Imagine how unworthy they must have felt, but how honored. They weren’t worried about what others thought of them. They didn’t over-think the situation or talk themselves out of telling the news. They were exuberant, overflowing with joy, and probably still reflected a bit of the glory of being with Jesus.
Would you have reacted the same way? Would you be exuberant and overflowing with joy, or would you be embarrassed or ashamed to tell anyone?
Could you be able to proudly speak the words of Philippians 1:20:
“For I fully expect and hope that I will never be ashamed, but that I will continue to be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past. And I trust that my life will bring honor to Christ, whether I live or die.” – Philippians 1:20.
Jesus doesn’t ask us to die for Him, but He does ask us to lay down our lives as an act of worship. We are asked to lay down our lives day in and day out for God. In other words, die to our own selfish will and live for Christ. So, how do we live our lives for Christ? We are to worship appropriately and, like the shepherds, advance Christ in everything we do.