Read Luke 2:8-19

Most of us are quite familiar with nativity scenes, whether in pictures, small figurines or “live” nativity scenes featuring real people and animals. I tend to think of shepherds the way they are portrayed in our modern presentations—clean, well-groomed, and handsome. I have nothing against nativity scenes, but the ancient reality was much different.

We hear much about shepherds in the Bible. Jesus even referred to Himself as the “good shepherd” in John 10:11. The role of the shepherd was well-known, but this does not mean it was highly regarded or prestigious work (especially during Jesus’ time). Just think about what they did—spending days or weeks as outcasts from society. Luke 2:8 clearly states that these men were “living out in fields.”

I find it interesting that God chose to make the first angelic announcement to these outcasts. What if something like this happened here in Manila? What if God bypassed missionaries, pastors, and priests and instead sent His announcement to a group of petty cab drivers? We serve a God who is not impressed by our titles, even religious ones.

The shepherds had little to offer by worldly standards—I see only two characteristics:

First, the shepherds had a simple faith. They trusted the angels’ message completely. Second, they had a simple life. They were not too busy to respond to the angels’ announcement.

A simple faith and a simple life. Perhaps we should also strive for these qualities.

This is my last Christmas devotional for 2006. Thanks so much to all of you who read and emailed encouraging comments. Blessings to you!

Next week I will tell you what you can expect on the blog in ’07.