Read Luke 2:15-19.
We’ve all seen birth announcements on Facebook and Twitter before. It is a happy surprise to see one’s friends announce that they are going to have a child. At this point in Luke’s narrative to Theophilus, he wants to set the stage for the birth of the Savior and the response of people to it. He begins his text with Mary and Joseph travelling from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The couple were engaged, but not married and Mary is pregnant. The census requires that people travel to their hometown to be registered and it is in Bethlehem that Mary gave birth to the child Jesus.
The scene shifts to the countryside. Shepherd are in that area on the night watch with their flocks. In that society, shepherds were not thought to be the best of the people. Because of the needs of their occupation, they were not able to participate in the Temple rituals and were considered unclean. Interestingly enough, there is speculation that the sheep they were guarding were intended for Temple sacrifice. The angel that stood in their midst in verse 8 gave those shepherds the birth announcement of the Messiah. The Savior had just been born in Bethlehem. The shepherds were told to go and see. They didn’t have to be told a second time, but hurried to the little town to see what had happened. Afterwards, the shepherds went and told people what they had seen about the angelic messengers and the newborn child.
Isn’t it amazing that God often uses unconventional methods and people to get His message across? We have to ask the question, are we any different? He has given us the greatest announcement that anyone could ever make!