I have directed a few Christmas pageants in my time and when it comes to casting the shepherds everyone groans. Shepherds are probably the most unwanted characters in the story. At this point I usually remind them that there are no small parts only small actors. They usually have to think on that for a while.
Being a shepherd isn’t a glamorous job. Most of the time is spent waiting and watching. It requires hours of searching out wayward sheep with stubborn attitudes. Some time is spent tending to injuries and making sure they’re fed. Little time is spent on sleep because of fear of some predator invading the herd.
The shepherds in this story knew about the coming Messiah, but they had waited for many years. They may have even given up hope. It’s never easy being patient.
When the brilliant star appeared on that rocky slope, it lit up the entire countryside. Shepherds were used to using stars to guide them, but they had never seen one with such brilliance. Then the angel came and said that the Messiah had arrived.
Shepherds were pretty low on the social scale and could be considered as modern day scum bags – much like most of us. It seemed rather extraordinary that these guys would be the recipients of such amazing news.
There are two applicable lessons in this story. First – we all have significance when it comes to Jesus. He came to save every one of us, even though we don’t deserve it.
Second – God’s plans are implemented when the time is right. We often grow impatient to have our prayers answered. We don’t allow God any slack. We forget that He knows better than we do what’s good for us.
The shepherds waited and watched. They also trusted and believed and followed the star to that humble town. We now await His second coming. Are we ready? We need to get out there, like the shepherds did, and spread the word.
Luke 2:17-18 “When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”