The shepherds, in awe of the angel’s message, hurry to Bethlehem to see this baby. Wilhelm Ernst Dietric’s painting, Adoration of the Shepherds, depicts the stable scene with such realness, you can almost smell the animals and feel the hay. But it raises some questions.
If this baby is the long awaited Savior/Messiah, you have to wonder what shepherds are doing there instead of high ranking officials. Yet, we see from the Gospels, these shepherds set the stage for Jesus’ coming ministry. He reached out to common everyday people who suffered loss, or were outcasts and he welcomed the low and unlovely. He had time for shepherds, who in our day would be blue collar workers or the homeless.
This scene also begs the question, “What is the prophesied Anointed One doing in a stable lying in a feeding box?” In Jesus’ culture, important people had money and status. But Jesus’ lowly birth foreshadows his example and teaching, “Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant” (Matthew 20.26). It was his heart to leave behind a community of believers who would serve the world.
Today as you meet with God, consider some personal questions: Are you approaching your faith looking for status, or are you willing to serve the way Jesus models? Come to him, like the shepherds, with a willing and humble heart.