The angel said to [the shepherds], “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  Luke 2:10-14

Glory to God in the highest!  The celebration of the glorious birth of Christ the Lord has begun…Merry Christmas!

Try to put yourself in the shoes of these shepherds.  Little excitement would have regularly come their way.  They were poor, simple shepherds who spent their days and nights tending the sheep of the fields.  That night, a group of them had gathered together for camaraderie.  It’s easy to imagine the scene of normal talking, laughing and being together.  Little did they realize what was about to happen.

As they were gathered, an angel of God appeared to them announcing “good news of great joy!”  They must have been stunned.  But that’s only the beginning.  The angel announced that the Savior of the World had been born and then, much to their surprise, they witnessed the whole host of heavenly angels singing praises: “Gloria in excelsis Deo!”  “Glory to God in the highest!”

These humble shepherds were the first to be called by God to go and greet the newborn King.  What’s amazing is that God did not first call the “important” of the age to come worship.  He called these poor shepherds.

One thing this tells us is that, in the eyes of God, all are equal.  God does not pick favorites from among those who are seen as important in the eyes of the world.  No, He sees the great value and dignity of each and every person and desires all of us, rich or poor, powerful or weak, to come to Him in adoration and love.

Christmas is a time filled with many exciting things.  Often there are gifts and gatherings, food and good times.  But more than anything else, Christmas must be seen as a time for us to step back and take in the deep and rich meaning of this sacred event.  We must see, first, that God entered our human condition and, in doing so, is able to identify with all that we experience in life.  God understands human life!  He lived it.

Second, we must understand that the birth of the Savior of the world and His appearance to shepherds reveals that each and every one of us is invited to come and meet Him.  God humbled Himself in the most profound way so that we could come to know Him and His perfect love for us.  “Do not be afraid,” as the angel said, to come and behold the Christ who came as your Savior.  Do not be afraid to come to meet Him, love Him, adore Him and get to know Him.  God is given to us, today, as an infant.  Small, weak, fragile and innocent.  Do not be afraid to gaze upon His humble presence and to give glory to God for His blessed coming.

Lord, I love You and adore You.  I thank You for the unfathomable gift of Your divine presence among us.  I thank You, especially, for the invitation You offer me to join the poor shepherds as they come to adore You.  May this Christmas celebration be one in which I understand, more deeply, the incredible love You have for all Your children.  May I know that You came for me, to save me and to invite me to worship.  May I, this day, enter into that worship and adoration with all the Heavenly Host.  Jesus, I trust in You.