“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.” (Luke 2:8-9 KJV)
Have you ever wondered what did the shepherds really see? The sight that they saw and the words that they heard were certainly enough to motivate them. Being shepherds, they knew all about swaddling clothes, as that was what they used for newborn sheep, and they knew right where to find such things. They were rewarded with success in actually finding Mary, Joseph, and Jesus right where they were told they would be. Not just one of them or a sign of them that would lead them on like a scavenger hunt. Yet, have you ever wondered about how it came to be that it was shepherds that got to see this message? How many faithful people may have been at the temple and knew the prophecies, yet even when the wise men arrive in Jerusalem, they know nothing of what the shepherds got to see. Is it not interesting that the shepherds should see this sight on the exact night that Jesus is born?
Forgive me for diving into a bit of speculation here, but I am not sure this event had anything to do with the shepherds. Other than to identify the really close proximity that this event took place at. If John's version of the Christmas story as told in Revelation 12 is accurate, I would dare to speculate that what the shepherds saw was an angelic military escort celebrating the success of the safely delivered “package”. You have probably seen the enormous security detail that travels with a president or a significant diplomat. Do you not think that the only begotten Son of God would have any less a spiritual military escort to His destination? I do not think this was an especially well tuned choir granting the shepherds front row seats to a number they would not soon forget. I think the fear they felt when they first saw what was happening in the skies combined with the clearness of the message propelled them in very great haste to see what was going on! All they needed was the phrase “swaddling clothes” to be off to see this great sight. Once they saw Mary, Joseph, and Jesus, it is no wonder why the shepherds would then return “glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen”. I am sure the celebration of the shepherds in all their excitement was only a toned down version of what they had seen the angels celebrating in the skies!
So often we see situations that seem as fragile as a man, a woman in labor, and a donkey walking along their way to a town to be registered for yet another tax hike. We wonder how any of a million possible situations that could have come along to disrupt the events which were foretold so long ago, and never see the spiritual armies that God has in place to escort events to exactly when and where He has a plan for them to take place. Notice that before the Word was made flesh that there is not the will of man but of God (see John 1:13, 14). Determine to seek His will today.
“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” (2 Peter 1:21 KJV)