In the Shepherd’s Field (Luke 2:2-14

In the Shepherd’s Field (Luke 2:2-14

The shepherds watched their flocks by starlight still

When witnessed they the angel of the Lord appear;

These outcasts heard this herald of God’s will,

Proclaiming, “Nevermore have you to fear!

Behold I bring good news of wondrous joy

For unto you — yes, even you — is born

This day in David’s town a baby boy,

The savior who fulfills all God has sworn.”

Then suddenly a multitude was there

With heaven’s anthem in the shepherd’s field:

“Be glory unto God beyond compare

And peace on Earth to those whose lives are sealed;

For He whose holy favor dwells on high

For you now rests in Bethlehem close by!”




One of the first things to be noted about this vignette with the shepherds is how it harkens back to the Magnificat from Luke 1:46-55, which gives special attention to God’s compassion and heart for the poor in spirit, the humble and the downtrodden. In this part of the Christmas story, we see that the first people to hear the good news of Jesus’s birth are not princes or emperors, wealthy businessmen or renowned craftsmen, but nightshift shepherds, who did the dirty work of tending for sheep out in the field. It is commonly understood that shepherds were at that time generally looked down upon and suspected, outcasts – it is such people who learn first of the birth of Jesus (after Mary and Joseph, of course). And the manner in which they learn it is befitting a magnificent and royal birth to be sure: an angel of God with the glory of the Lord shining around them appears with good news, followed by “a multitude of the heavenly host” (Luke 2:13, ESV). This is a grand appearance, full of pomp and flair, perfectly fitting for the incarnation of God, and the ones to receive it are a few poor shepherds out in the field. What a picture of God exalting those of humble estate! What glory to be displayed in but a shepherd’s field!

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