There is no question that the birth of Jesus was a monumental event. It was first noted in the Holy Scripture known as the Bible, and it was hailed as a miraculous story.
When it comes to the birth of Jesus, who would you think would be the first to find out about it? If we were writing the story, we would probably have kings, princes, princesses or noblemen to be the first to learn of it.
However, this was not so in scripture. Actually, the first people to learn of this spectacular event were just humble shepherds tending their fields and their flocks.
And if that weren’t all, these shepherds found out about the birth of the Christ child in a truly amazing way!
The Story of Jesus in the Bible
In the Bible, it notes that the shepherds were residing in the nearby fields, and they were keeping close watch over the many flocks of sheep they were responsible for at night.
After an angel representing the Lord appeared before them, they noticed the tremendous glory of the Lord shining all before them and illuminating the entire area.
Naturally, they were scared out of their minds. However, the angel told them, “Don’t be afraid. I am bringing you good news of great joy that all people can partake in.
For it is on this day in the town of David that a great Saviour will be born for you and all people. He will be known as Christ the Lord.
He will demonstrate His presence by a sign: He will be in the form of a baby and he will be wrapped in cloths and be laying in the manger.”
Immediately after that, there was an amazing accompaniment of the heavenly angelic host that appeared with the other angels.
They were praising God, and they also said, “Glory to God to the highest degree, on earth let us have peace to men who understand where his favor rests.”
After that, the angels left the shepherds and went back into heaven.
The amazed shepherds talked among themselves, saying, “We should go to Bethlehem and look at this remarkable thing that has taken place that the Lord God has just told us.”
So they departed, eventually finding Mary and Joseph, along with the Christ child.
They saw this amazing child lying in the manger, and they spread the word around about what the angels had told them about this incredible child.
Everyone they told marveled at the incredible story the shepherds were telling to them.
Mary in particular treasured these things and hid them in her heart.
After the shepherds came back, they gave all of the praise to God almighty for all of the amazing things they had seen and heard, for God had kept His word completely, doing everything as He told them He would do. (Luke 2:8-20, paraphrase)
The History Behind the Shepherds and Angels in the Christmas Story
This was an unfortunate time for sheep farmers. Nowadays, those involved in agriculture are looked upon with a certain degree of respect, especially in rural areas.
However, back then sheep farmers were seen as being lower-class citizens compared to other individuals.
Another interesting fact would be the type of sheep these farmers were raising. They were of the “fat-tailed” variety, and they normally would have lamb in either the fall or winter months.
This is a lot different than sheep in the western hemisphere, which normally has lambs in the spring.
Considering that the shepherds were just doing their jobs when the angels appeared out of nowhere, it isn’t that big of a surprise that they were frightened.
However, the angels were undaunted, and the fact that these heavenly creatures told the shepherds how to find the Christ child in a crowded town echoes the original ritual of sacrifices in a temple.
Interestingly enough, there were only two occasions in Scripture where a group of angels appeared before people instead of just one angel.
This definitely demonstrates that they had an important message to give.
This absolutely would have been an incredible experience considering that the Bible says that angels number in the millions.
There is more information about angels at whyangels.com.
There is yet another theory that Christ might have been born a few miles outside of Bethlehem and He might have been in the company of some other shepherds when he entered into human flesh.
This is because on the outskirts of Bethlehem there was a distinct watch tower called the Migdal Eder.
This tower literally means “The Tower of the Flock” and it was probably used to produce sheep that were considered sacrifice animals in the local Jewish temples.
This is a very special tower indeed.
Another unique coincidence regarding these sheep would be concerning the ancient practice of checking their health.
These sheep were normally tested by having them laid to rest in a manger and “wrapped in swaddling clothes”, just exactly like how the Lamb of God Himself was treated.
Of course, if these were truly shepherds that were responsible for guarding the Migdal Eder, then they would naturally come into contact with several middle-class individuals when they put their sheep up for sale.
They also would have been in regular contact with the Jewish priests in the Temple who used their sheep for their sacrifices.
Finally, perhaps the most interesting prophecy from the Holy Bible would have to be that the Jewish Messiah would be available at the “Tower of the Flock.”
Thus, the fact that Scripture mentions the angels appearing to this group of shepherds shows they were trying to demonstrate that yes, Christ was the Messiah that the Jewish had waited so long to find.
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Main Points About Shepherds and Angels
- The shepherds and the angel’s story is also known as the annunciation. It is the angelic announcement of the birth of the baby Jesus.
- At night shepherds were keeping their flocks, the angel of the Lord appeared to them.
- When the angel appeared, the shepherds were struck with fear. The angel told them not to be afraid.
- The angel proclaimed the good news with great joy to the shepherd, telling them that that the messiah had been born.
- The shepherds humbled themselves and became part of the Christmas story to fulfill the promise of the angel.
The shepherds were poor people residing near the fields where Jesus was born. They were the first ones to be told about the birth of the Son of God. The angels broke the news to shepherds.
I have shared the complete sequence of events above. If you still have any questions about shepherds and angles then do ask me in the comments below.
Word Cloud for Shepherds and Angels
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Shepherds and Angels. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.