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Luke 2: 8-12
In the same region there were shepherds out in the field, 
keeping watch of their flock by night.
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the 
glory of the Lord shone around them, and 
they were filled with great fear. 
And the angel said to them, 
“Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David 
a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 
And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased.”
The ninth group of people in the Christmas story are the shepherds.
When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 
“Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, 
which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and
found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 
And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told to them concerning this child. 
And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 
But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, 
for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
At the time of Jesus birth the shepherds were not the most popular people in the land.
They were often considered as outcasts, dirty, unsociable and even marginalized.
But they were chosen.
It was an ordinary night for them only the skies were full of brightness, they knew the stars and they knew what it should look like and on this night it was very different.
They were terrified when they saw the angels and heavenly host.
I am amazed at that because these men, these rough and rugged shepherds were fearless.
They knew how to fight predators who wished to harm their sheep.
Nothing gave them great fear. BUT the angels did.
Can you even imagine what they saw and heard?
It had to be so convincing for them to leave the sheep and run to go see the new baby.
Their job was to protect at all times, nothing would ever make them leave their flocks for they knew they were vulnerable alone.
Yet they left the herds to go find Mary and Joseph and the little baby born lying in a manger.
God showed the shepherds their worth when he included them in the Christmas story.
(Remembering the song, “oh Holy Night” and the line in it that says “and the soul found it’s worth”.)
He valued them enough to draw them into the eternal, forever known story and they became credible witnesses when they saw and later shared about the baby Jesus.
What a way to share the story of a miraculous birth.
Common shepherds who were fearless and courageous, not respected but heard, when sharing the story of how they bent down and experienced the new little Jesus child.
Another one of those life altering moments.
On this eleventh day of Christmas we learn of the ninth set of people,
who were not forgotten but chosen to help tell the Christmas story.