In the town of Bethlehem
A king and ruler child was born
Not too many people noticed
Just some shepherds on their farm
Plus a few hundred thousand angels
Breaking the heavens with their song
And the rocks and the mountains joined them
For their time had come
God had promised a Redeemer
Through the prophet’s willing tongue
Time had reached its culmination
To reveal His only Son
Born of a virgin child of the earth
With her seed conceived of God
Fully human but in His veins flowed
Precious Godly blood
And that precious blood was soon
To be poured out in cruel death
For the healing of the nations
And all those who feel His breath
Lift up your voice and sing to the heavens
With the angels sing your song
Jesus has come to wipe out the darkness
Take us to His home
What a magnificent announcement that some would think was wasted on peasant shepherds and no one else! A multitude of the heavenly host just for a handful of sheepherders by trade. Did you ever stop to consider that no one would have been there to witness the birth but a few barnyard animals, had the angels not broken the silence of that quiet Palestinian night with their singing? God wanted someone there, and what company He chose!
I also think God wanted Mary and Joseph to know this was indeed the real deal He had predicted. The excited shepherds telling about their angelic encounter must have been a huge confirmation. Had there been no one there, I imagine they might have been tempted to wonder if they were kidding themselves. But for the shepherds, it could have been something they ate.
Of course there were kings, but they came later to a “house,” and saw the “child,” not a baby, and they came from a long way away. I know that doesn’t play well on our coffee tables at Christmastime, but it stands that the stable was for shepherds. They were right at home there.
Thank God for the shepherds. He could have picked anyone and He picked them. God wanted to share this moment with those who spend their lives taking care of dumb, smelly sheep and goats. Kings, tax collectors, merchants, shipbuilders, tentmakers, seamstresses, landowners… they would all come later. This was the moment for shepherds to shine. Something tells me this was an indication of who was going to respond to the message of salvation brought by this baby in a manger. The poor and hungry and oppressed have always been high on God’s list. The last shall be first. First in line. First to the stable.