A shepherd’s perspective is, you know, close to the earth. We’re earthy guys. We don’t put on airs, even though we smell like sheep. We have tough hands and quick eyes. We have strong bodies and, by the time night falls, weary bones.
Most people consider us irreligious. Though Moses was a shepherd and David was a shepherd and even God called himself a shepherd, people nevertheless think of shepherds as unspiritual. That’s because our work makes it impossible for us to go to the temple or even to synagogue. It’s not our fault. We were born into shepherding. Our dads and grandads and their grandad’s grandads were shepherds, but nowadays the posh people say that shepherding is one of the seven disgusting trades and consider us untouchables.
But shepherds are like everybody else. Some of us are deeply spiritual, some aren’t. Some of us trust God and hope in his salvation. Others don’t.
The hypocrites off in Jerusalem think they know shepherds but they don’t know us at all, but shepherds know each other. Most of us are related – fathers and sons, brothers and cousins. Outsiders may consider us untouchable, but we consider each other family.
What did that first Christmas Eve look like from our perspective? Well, for one thing we saw that God did not consider us untouchable. God is better than the people who think they’re better than us. On that night, God was our shepherd, and he was leading us in paths of righteousness.
And where did He lead us? Right to the Lamb of God. You know, those of us who shepherd around Bethlehem aren’t like other shepherds in Israel. All of are sheep are raised for the temple –born and raised for sacrifice. We all know that one of the lambs in our pen might be the Pascal lamb chosen for the coming Passover. Ours is an important job. The lambs we raise will be sacrifices for sin and offerings for fellowship with God.
The angel said that a savior had been born to us! Not to other people, not to religious people, but to us! So we hurried off to see this savior and what did we find but a Lamb, the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world. And we got to see him first1 Not the priests or synagogue rulers or teachers of the law, but us. I guess that proves that the Lord who is a shepherd loves shepherds. No one is untouchable to him.
“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 2:20)