Who were the shepherds that were present at the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem has long been a story that has fascinated the masses over the centuries. Even today, in 2018, it remains a topic of discussion with theologians and historians.
Over 2000 years ago, some of the most notable people present after the Baby Jesus was born were the humble shepherds tending to their flocks. These shepherds of the time were considered to be of little importance; almost lowly as far as most people living then were concerned. The shepherds were wandering nomads thought to not even have dwellings to live in but rather actually lived out in the fields with their flocks. This was a lifestyle that existed long before the birth of Christ and still to this day, in parts of the Middle East, nomadic shepherds can be found living pretty much the way they did at the time of the birth of Jesus.
These shepherds have traditionally been without means or influence, yet God chose them over lawyers and scribes and wealthy landowners and other people of great wealth to send a group of Angels to announce that the Son of God had been born in a manger in the town of David.
As the story of the first Christmas goes, an Angel appeared to the shepherds who were at first terrified at the sight of the Angel. The Angel then said to the shepherds “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger”. Then other Angels appeared and helped reassure the shepherds. When the Angels had left them, the shepherds decided to go to Bethlehem to see for themselves this event that had happened. And they did and found it to be true. They then went in all directions; far and wide to spread the story of the birth of the Baby Jesus, the Son of God.
It has long been debated why it was shepherds that were chosen by God to be the first to receive the announcement of the birth by the Angels. But most believe that it is because God values all people, no matter what their status in life and chose the most humble and unassuming to be blessed with the good news first.