“In that region, there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” (Luke 2: 8-9)
For the first time, unnamed individuals enter the Christmas story. Shepherds watching over their flocks by night encounter heavenly messengers on a Bethlehem hillside. Shepherds watching over sheep was a common site at the time of Jesus’ birth. They were hardworking individuals who looked over some of the most vulnerable creatures. It was not a lucrative occupation, but it provided a steady living. These were ordinary folks doing ordinary work. God would use them, however, in the Christmas story.
God often brings individuals into our lives that make a difference in our stories. These unexpected visitors may be with us for only a brief time, but they impact us in life-changing ways. They often intersect our lives when we least expect them. Yet, something about their story influences our own.
In discerning God’s will in our lives, we must pay attention to the people around us. God often uses others to reveal himself to us in ways that we are not expecting. Through the lives of others, we sometimes receive glimpses of God. In Hebrews 13:2, we read, “Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.” The shepherds were not angels, but they did experience the glory of God on that Bethlehem hillside. They indeed would become “messengers” of God’s good news as the first Christmas unfolded.
Prayer: Lord, help me to pay attention to the people in my life and how You might be using them to speak to me.