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The king greeted by shepherds

December 20, 2021

Daily Scripture

Luke 2:7-9

7 She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guestroom.

8 Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. 9 The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.

Did You Know?

Tomorrow, December 21, at 6:30 pm, Resurrection’s Leawood Sanctuary will host a special candlelight Christmas Eve service. It’s for those who are healthcare workers, immunocompromised, or are especially COVID-cautious and would prefer to attend a mask-required service.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Manger scenes, Christmas pageants and paintings usually portray noble, worshipful shepherds. Yet at the time of Jesus’ birth, most people looked down on shepherds. As the shepherds cared for their flocks, they couldn’t precisely observe all the rituals other people followed to be “holy,” so devout Hebrews shunned them as “unclean.” And these were the “night shift shepherds,”* the lowest of the low. But God loved them and sent these shepherds the first news of Jesus’ birth.

  • Imagine you lived in first-century Israel and didn’t know this story. Jerusalem’s Temple housed the ruling Council (the “Sanhedrin”) and many of the most revered Scripture experts. Would it shock you that God’s announcement skipped those elite leaders, who said they were waiting for the birth of the Savior? The news went to lowly shepherds a few miles away. How did that foreshadow the rulers’ response to the grown-up Jesus (cf. Matthew 26:57-67)? How did it show God’s values?
  • Was Jesus born on December 25? The slim evidence makes that highly unlikely. “That shepherds were watching their flocks outside at night, rather than having them in pens, suggests that the season was warm.”** How can the story of the shepherds watching their flocks outdoors on a warmer night remind you that the good news of Jesus’ birth applies all year, and in all places, not just on a few wintry northern nights?

The Journey: A Season of Reflections

Today’s Insights blog was chapter 21, “Night-Shift Shepherds,” from The Journey: A Season of Reflections, by Adam Hamilton. Copyright © 2011 by Abingdon Press, and available on our website for 24 hours by permission of Abingdon Press. If you’d like to buy the entire book of reflections, you can click here for a direct link to the Cokesbury sale page, as well as other Journey resources.


God of all people, you care more about my inner openness to you and your purposes than you do about any human reviews or praises I might receive. Help me to see those around me through your eyes. Amen.

GPS Insights

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

* The phrase is from Adam Hamilton in today’s Insights blog, a chapter from The Journey: A Season of Reflections. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2011, pp. 115-120.

** Zondervan, NIV, Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible, eBook (Kindle Locations 232417-232418). Kindle Edition.