I'd like to share this simple thought with you this Christmas. Consider this question: when some shepherds were visited by an angel with good news, might this have something to do with the prophecies involving a shepherd, later anointed king of Israel? Prophecies like this one:
"For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of armies will accomplish this." (Isaiah 9:6-7 NASB)
God had chosen a lowly shepherd to be the king of Israel, and David would serve to foreshadow the Messiah, who would confirm that he is the prophesied King and shepherd: “I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep" (John 10:11 NASB).
This background information provides us with a new lens for the account mentioning the shepherds and the angel's message. Through this theme of shepherds, I am reminded that just as those shepherds were watching over their sheep that night, so was our good shepherd Jesus Christ watching over us. He took on flesh, was born with a humble status similar to that of those shepherds, and watched over us each step of the way, until he would defeat the threat that hung over the head of his sheep. "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased" (Luke 2:14 NASB).
One can only imagine what those shepherds must have understood when they heard the angel's message, saw with their eyes what was told to them, and through their own experience as shepherds processed that information. Might they have identified with Jesus' humility on that manger? Did they understand that they were just as important in this Kingdom Jesus was bringing to them? Did they ponder on how he would put his life on the line to protect His sheep just as they did each day? One thing we can do is consider these things ourselves.
Luke 2:2-20 NASB In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock at night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood near them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. And so the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army of angels praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among people with whom He is pleased.” When the angels had departed from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let’s go straight to Bethlehem, then, and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. When they had seen Him, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. And all who heard it were amazed about the things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
By the way, if you'd like to hear some more uncommonly known information on the Nativity Story, check out this video: