8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
For the Nativity story, there is simply nothing like the Gospel of Luke, King James Version. “Shepherds abiding.” The richness of the language. When reading the Nativity, I always go to the KJV.
It tells of the birth of a King, a Savior. So, why were the lowly shepherds the first to learn of this earth changing event?
Few jobs in ancient Palestine were more undesirable than that of a hired shepherd. Long hours in the worst of conditions, low pay, no status and dangerous. Only those who could not get other work hired themselves out as shepherds. Many of them were probably the dregs of society. Many were pious, honorable men who simply did not have the skills to do other work. I expect those who had this particular angelic visit were in the latter category.
Certainly these men were not expecting a heavenly messenger. Why would God sent such an important message to men like these instead of the priests or high officials? These were just a small step above the prostitutes, murders and thieves.
And this is the very reason why, on the night Jesus was born, they were the first to know. Jesus came to change and save the world. He did not come only for the high and mighty, but for all mankind, including those who were the least among men.
There are times when all of us feel unimportant to God, ignored by Him. When you are feeling that way, remember the shepherds… so loved by The Father that they became the first to know.