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“There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks. … But the angel said .., “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Luke 2:8-10
They were smelly, dirty, and considered by many to be second-class, untrustworthy people. They were the ones you’d step away from, the ones you’d avoid talking to.
Ancient shepherds were considered those people.
They were the lowly of society, many with reputations to match. Yet, the angels chose them to be among the first to proclaim the news God’s people had waited generations to hear—Christ was born.
Then there was Mary and Joseph, a poor unesteemed couple with little to offer and who likely experienced scorn. People could count the days of Mary’s pregnancy, making all sorts of assumptions regarding her swelling stomach.
I imagine there were those who whispered and spread rumors. She became pregnant out of wedlock, an offense worthy of stoning in her day. I suspect many considered her that kind of woman—the type they wanted their sons to avoid and warned their daughters not to become.
But we know the truth. God chose this righteous woman of humble means to be the mother of His Son. And He chose lowly, smelly shepherds to first hear and share the news.
Why choose the impoverished and social outcasts to play such a significant role in His redemptive story? For that matter, why did Creator God give up His divine privileges to take on human form (Phil. 3:7) and enter our sin-ravished world?
I believe the answer is: He wants all of us—from the poorest and most shame-filled to the rich and famous—to know that no one, no one, is beyond His reach. Jesus Christ pursues each of us, regardless of where we’ve been or what we’ve done. He came to earth as that tender babe for but one purpose: to die for all mankind.
Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, speaker, and the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries. She writes for Crosswalk, is the author of eight contemporary novels, and helped write Wholly Loved’s Bible study based on the life of Sarai (Gen. 12-23) titled Becoming His Princess, releasing in the spring/summer of 2019. When not writing, reading, or editing, Jennifer loves going on mall outings with her adult daughter and coffee dates with her hilariously fun husband. Visit her online at jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com.
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