9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”(Luke 2:9-12)
By the time Jesus was born, shepherds were considered to be very low down the social scale. Why then did they get to hear about Jesus’ birth, rather than ‘important’ people? One could spend a lot of hours researching the many different theories that try to answer that question. I love doing research, but I soon got frustrated by the many different perspectives shared, even though some made sense and seemed obvious. So I stopped researching, although I might study further for my own interest.
Despite my frustration at the volume of articles about why the shepherds were chosen to receive the news from the angel of the Lord, because I wanted to understand quickly – in order to write about it – I discovered something else. Something, which I might have otherwise missed. Just like it didn’t actually matter that it was Mary that was chosen to be the mother of Jesus, it doesn’t matter that the Lord chose shepherds to be the recipients of the message from the angel. They received a proclamation of the wonderful news that the promised Saviour had been born and were given details of where to find Him. They were the first to know of the joy that would follow. I’ve noticed that my curious mind tends to push me towards finding out ‘why’, when actually I’m discovering that there is more blessing in discovering the ‘what’. And that’s worth nurturing, isn’t it?