What comes to mind when you think of the word nativity? You probably think of little Jesus with a halo over his head, Mary serenely watching her baby, Joseph happily protecting his son, three wise men bringing gifts to the newborn king, and shepherds eagerly watching. But what was it really like in the stable on the night that Christ was born? If you have ever seen a live birth you know it’s nothing like the perfect little manger scene everyone imagines Christ birth being like. Mary would have been dirty and exhausted after giving birth. Joseph too, probably. Jesus was would have been red, bloody, and crying as loud as his small infant lungs would allow. I can just picture Joseph, being a new, inexperienced father, trying frantically to calm him down! And just as he gets him to stop crying and go to sleep, a group of shepherds walks in, declaring that angels lead them to the baby boy. When you think of Jesus’s birth realistically it seems more like a chaotic night than a silent night. Who wrote that song, anyway? But I’m getting off track. Over the next few weeks I am going to take a look at each part of the nativity scene and post a devotional once a week on that person or people. I will be focusing on the Shepherds, Joseph, Mary, and finally Jesus. Let’s get started!
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.” ~Luke 2:8-9. Have you ever wondered about the fact that shepherds were the first people to hear about Jesus birth? Not Herod, not the magi, and not even a priest. Shepherds were considered one of the lowest class of people during Jesus’s time, yet they were precious enough in God’s sight to be the first people to hear the announcement of Christ birth. What privilege that would have been! For hundreds of years the Jewish people anxiously awaited the long expected Messiah, and when he appeared the first people to know about it were shepherds! Even then God was showing his unbiased, perfect love to the human race. In his eyes the shepherds were just as important as any nobleman or king. After the shepherds saw baby Jesus lying in a manger they praised God, and told everyone about what they had seen. The Bible tells us that everyone who heard the shepherds were amazed, but do you think they believed them? Their story was incredible and almost unbelievable. God sending angels to visit shepherds to tell them about the birth of the Messiah? It was unheard of! I’m sure many people thought the shepherds were drunk or crazy. But the shepherds knew what they had seen and heard, and probably remembered and treasured them for the rest of their lives. Why do you think God chose the shepherds to be the first to hear about Jesus’s birth? Perhaps it was because of their humility or maybe they were prepared to listen to the angel, either way God had a purpose in choosing the shepherds. It’s wasn’t just coincidence that the angels appeared to that group of shepherds any more than it was coincidence that God chose Mary and Joseph to raise Jesus. He loved those shepherds, just like he loves you and me. Merry Christmas! ~Ally