In his 2016 book, Hidden Christmas: The Surprising Truth Behind the Birth of Christ, Tim Keller shares some interesting insights about the shepherds from the biblical story of Jesus’ birth. He explains that they were a part of a lowly and in some ways outcast part of society. They were often viewed as shady characters because they let their sheep graze on other people’s land. They were not trusted members of society according to discoveries in ancient literature that they were not allowed to testify in court. Imagine a whole group, or occupation, of people, that were considered so untrustworthy that they could not be a witness in a trial. This is the group of people that God sent angels to with a proclamation of the good news that a savior had been born in nearby Bethlehem.

Perhaps this should be no surprise to many who are familiar with God’s ways of doing things. He often tells us to live differently than the way the “world” sees as wise. Consider Jesus instructions when throwing a holiday party:

He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid.  But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” – Luke 14:12-13

God has a special place in his heart for people who are easily overlooked. How about you? Who is first on your list to get whatever miraculous blessing you can provide this Christmas?

John Riley
Jr. High Pastor

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