Real Christmas (Part 5): The Importance of Shepherds

real Israeli ShepherdWhen the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15

When God wanted humanity to know about the birth of His son, He sent angels to proclaim the news to shepherds. Out of everyone living on earth at that time, he didn’t choose the grandparents, cousins, someone famous, or even an average Joe to be the first to hear the good news. And understanding the importance of Shepherds hearing the news before anyone can deepen the meaning of the season even more.

Shepherds, due to the very essence of the job, were seen as unclean. I don’t mean they didn’t bathe, although that was part of it. They were ceremonially unclean because they couldn’t follow the purity laws required to enter the Jewish temple.

Shepherds couldn’t take part in religious festivals, or offer sacrifices, because sacrifices were made in the temple – a place they couldn’t go due to their spiritual impurity. They were low on the social totem pole because of their unclean religious status, and to an extent religion was the law of the day.

The Romans also loathed Shepherds, taking them even lower in society. If a shepherd witnessed a crime, their testimony was deemed invalid and not allowed in a court of law… simply because they were a shepherd. But yet the God of the universe chose to bring his message to… THEM.

The unclean.
The shunned.
“THOSE” people.

God’s message of hope through His son was for everyone, no matter if they were clean, unclean, shepherds, or kings. It was earth-shattering that the Glorious, Holy, Mighty God would send His special messengers to such pedestrian types such as these.

Today, God’s message of forgiveness through His Son is not limited to status, gender, race, or nationality. Jesus came – and died – for everyone, everywhere. This Christmas, let’s realize and remember that fact with folks we come into contact with, and treat them accordingly.

*Just a fun fact, today’s picture is of a real shepherd I caught on camera back in 2013. He was herding goats though, not sheep!

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