The birth of Jesus ben Joseph haunted those who knew his true identity. The fourth in a series of six meditations.
God had visited the fields of Bethlehem with singing before. A thousand years earlier, his Spirit inspired a shepherd boy to sing dozens of great melodies of praise (many of the Psalms in our Bibles today). Every Israelite knew that shepherd boy left the fields to become Israel’s greatest king.
But no one had such hopes for these particular shepherds. Much more important people—King David’s descendants—filled the rooms of Bethlehem’s inns as they came back to be counted in their ancestral home.
Yet it was not to any of the VIPs that God sent his angel and the armies of heaven to announce the birth of the Savior, the Son of David. Instead, God displayed his extraordinary concert and light show to these shepherds—and invited them to come and see the Messiah everyone else had been waiting for.
Although initially stunned by the glory of God and the message of the angel, these shepherds immediately ran to see this miracle. There lay the baby, swaddled in cloth and snuggled in the hay—just as the angel said. This baby fulfilled every Israelite’s deepest hope and answered every Gentile’s greatest longings. His birth was “good news that will bring great joy to all people” (Luke 2:10)!
The shepherds couldn’t stick around all night, of course. But as they headed back to the hills and their sleeping sheep, Scripture tells us that they told the miraculous news to everyone they met. Sadly, I’m sure they were mocked. After all, who would believe a bunch of shepherds?
Yet, after disappearing for four centuries, God had just announced the Messiah’s birth with multitudes of angels. Then this ragtag bunch had seen the Christ child with their own eyes.
It mattered not if others believed. They knew.