In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. (Luke 2:8-9 CSB)
Shepherds were like modern day custodians. They were unfairly viewed as below-average people, looked down on because of their unglamorous, “dirty” job.
And these are the people to whom God announced the King’s birth. Angels didn’t show up in downtown Jerusalem. They didn’t appear to the respected elites or the highly influential.
God’s glory was displayed to those without glory.
And this has two important implications for us.
First, we have to give up our glory.
Recently, I was watching a group of 2nd and 3rd graders figure out who was tallest. Why? Because they want to know how they measure up. Literally. And there’s glory in being tallest.
We do the same thing, just in adult ways. We are constantly looking for ways to stand out, to rise above our peers, to make a name for ourselves. We compare ourselves and rank ourselves, hoping to find something that can set us apart… something that can make us glorious.
Some people fail at this and live with insecurity and self-hate. Others succeed and learn to trust far too deeply in themselves. Both totally miss the gospel.
The gospel says— the way up is down. God chose the poor to be rich in faith and heirs of the Kingdom. Give up your glory so you can see God’s glory. If you want to see the King, you have to become a shepherd.
Second, we have to love those without glory.
The world will prioritize those with power and privilege. If you’ve got money, a big title, a nice house, a beautiful family, good grades, an impressive résumé… we’ll accept you. We’ll listen to you. We’ll give you the benefit of the doubt.
The gospel says— there are no little people and no little places. In Christ, everybody is a son of God through faith.
This means that in our churches we don’t favor those who can give more. We don’t prioritize people based on their job or education. We don’t show favoritism. Instead, we love everyone without judgment. We believe in people. We look at people the world has labeled ‘average’ and we say— anything’s possible!
And why do we do these two things?
Because Jesus did these two things for us.