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
As there is so much darkness to spread around today, let us take a look at those frightened shepherds quaking in their old-time sandals out in the field. Actually, they may not have been able to afford sandals in their day. The shepherds of the time were ranked just above pig farmers in their social standing. The prodigal son in that famous parable may have tried to get a job as a shepherd before being turned out into the pig pen. "Hey, that guy owes me money from his last party, don't hire him!" Even shepherds had a step to fall down, but it was a short one.
Shepherds weren't much welcome in town either, smelling of sheep and pasture dust as they did. If it rained on them, children threw rocks to keep them out of town until their pungent smell dried out a little. In the schools when the Judean children learned that their great king, David, had begun life as a shepherd, they probably believed it with a grain of salt, like those other childhood fables to be outgrown. Ho, ho, ho, the children would laugh, people can't go from shepherd to king, how would you ever get the sheep smell out of the palace? Shepherds got no respect back in the day.
And yet, Someone sent angels to announce to the shepherds the birth of a certain child in Bethlehem. A Shepherd had arrived.Joyous Christmas to you,