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  • Writer's pictureCarolyn Elson

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

Read Luke 2:8-20

When Jesus was born, wouldn’t the first to know about his birth be the religious leaders and high priest of that day? The important people first? Yet, we find that isn’t the case. Why did God choose shepherds? Lowly, unclean outcasts of society. No one liked them and considered shepherds to be dirty and stinky riff-raff. If you haven’t yet, take the time to read the account in Luke 2, the link is above. Reading the narrative of this event, a couple of things stuck out to me.

The story begins with shepherds tending their sheep in a field at night when an angel scares the living daylights out of them. I’ve never encountered an angel myself, but from their descriptions in the Bible, well, let’s say they don’t look like the innocent sweet-faced children in white robes on a Christmas card, and that is why the shepherds reacted the way they did. In verse 9, the word terrified translates as “so scared they wanted to run.”

After reassuring them, the angel tells them the best news ever. The Messiah has arrived! The long-awaited Savior! I love the New Living Translation of verse 11; it says, “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. “The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! Then an army of angels shows up to praise God. What a sight that must have been.

After the angels return to heaven, the shepherds didn’t give each other high-fives and go back to what they were doing. They decide to go to Bethlehem to see this thing the angel had told them. In fact, verse 16 says they hurried to Bethlehem. They find Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus just as the angel told them. Notice next what the shepherds do. They don’t leave and go their merry way; they stay and tell everyone what happened, about the angel and what he said to them, that the Messiah has been born. They become the first “evangelists” to spread the Good News.

I have often wondered why God chose shepherds to be the first to know that Jesus was born. What did God see in them? Was it their willing hearts to go seek what the angel announced to them, or because they were ordinary shepherds or both? You see, God often uses ordinary people to carry out his will. We have many examples in the Bible of God using people like Moses, David, and Esther to accomplish big things for Him. God uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary. And, just like the shepherds, if we are willing, God can use us ordinary people to do extraordinary things for him too.

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