December 19, 2016

Advent 2016 - The Shepherds

Devotion for the Week...

Less than a week now until Christmas 😊 School finishes Wednesday at lunchtime, and my parents arrive on Friday, and we are all very much looking forward to the break together.

So far this Advent season, we've looked at Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, considering their roles in the Christmas story and what they could teach us about God's plan for us. Today we're going to look at the shepherds.

To be honest, I never really thought about the shepherds much while growing up. I knew about the angel appearing to them in the field and telling them about the Savior who had been born, but I didn't think they were very important. Now my view is entirely different and I love their part of the story. The shepherds have an incredibly important lesson to teach us, especially when we're feeling 'not good enough'.

Here's their part in the story:

"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 that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

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. 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. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told" (Luke 2:8-20).

I've always thought is was cool that the shepherds got a special invitation to go meet Jesus, but like I said, that was about all I thought of them. Then, a few years back, I read "In Search of...The Real Spirit of Christmas", by Dan Schaeffer and it completely changed my perspective on these simple men. I came to absolutely love the fact that God specifically invited them to visit Jesus.

According to Schaeffer, shepherds at that time "were considered unreliable, untrustworthy and not a little larcenous". In fact, they were thought to be so untrustworthy that they couldn't even testify in court.

Think about that. These men were the ones other people wouldn't socialize with. They were thought to be liars and cheats. They were essentially shunned by 'polite society'. 

And God sent them an angel to say, "Come, I want you to meet Someone."

The lowest of the low...

The least respected...

The most unworthy...

And God says, "You are welcome in His presence."

The truth is, I think God was making a point when he sent the angel to those shepherds. I think He was showing them, and us, that no one is so low that they aren't welcome in Jesus' presence. No one is so bad that they can't approach the Son of God and feel accepted. No one is excluded from the salvation that Jesus came to give us.

That is the "good news that will cause great joy for all the people" (v. 10) that the angel talked about. It is for all the people because everyone is welcome. No one will be turned away from Jesus.

No matter what you've done, no matter how many mistakes you've made or how bad those mistakes were, Jesus invites you to come to Him just as the shepherds were invited so long ago. 
Weekly Christian devotions |
Then, once you have met Jesus, you can be like the shepherds "glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen" (v. 20).


  1. These devotions are blessing me, Leanne, and I'm sure others are being touched as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. They are profound and powerful. Blessings to you as well!

  2. Thank you Leanne for these reflections. I have heard the Christmas story so many many times but the significance of the invitation to the shepherds has never hit me. How wonderful that at the start Christ was challenging social norms and welcoming everyone. I hope this Christmas holiday is a blessing to you and your family.


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