8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:8-20)
The Christmas story involving the shepherds begins with God. Through the angels, God approached the shepherds. Shepherds were lowly members of society. Nobody really saw shepherds. Society didn’t deem them important. Many people in our culture today aren’t really seen either. The Broadway musical (and now film) Dear Evan Hansen address this reality. The musical opens with the song “Waving through Window,” by Owl City. Here are some of the lyrics:
On the outside, always looking in Will I ever be more than I’ve always been? I’m waving through a window I try to speak, but nobody can hear, So I wait around for an answer to appear, While I’m watching people pass, I’m waving through a window, Can anybody see, is anybody waving back at me?, When you’re falling in a forest and there’s nobody around, Do you ever really crash, or even make a sound? Did I even make a sound? Did I even make a sound? It’s like I never made a sound. Will I ever make a sound?
The lyrics capture the emptiness, loneliness, and search for purpose and meaning of so many in this generation. Does anyone see me? Will my life ever make a sound? Will I make a difference in this world? Does my life have meaning?
God answers all these questions through the story of the shepherds. He does see us. He loves us and invites us into the greatest story ever written. God saw the shepherds, and He invited them into His story. God sees you and me. He invites us into His story for the world.
To watch my full message on the shepherds, “Joy for All People,” click here. Message portion begins 22 minutes into the video.