I was going through my advent devotional for today, available here, and stumbled over the shepherds. I guess you could say I’ve been picking up on the cues from scriptures lately that God really writes His story in a way that is altogether different from what we consider normal, respectable, upper class, or even pragmatic.
The shepherds were the first witnesses to Jesus’ birth. They could confirm this birth account. But ironically-or maybe not so ironically at all if we thought God’s thoughts after Him-shepherds didn’t get a vote in court because of their reputation of “confusing” their sheep with others sheep. Yet they are the first witnesses.
And consider the first witnesses at Jesus resurrection: ladies. They also couldn’t testify in a court of law. Yet they are God’s first witnesses, testifying to the veracity and fulfillment of Jesus’ claims.
It just shows us God thinks quite differently than we do. And He wouldn’t have it any other way. The birth narrative, the resurrection narrative, as well as the narrative of Jesus’ life, just isn’t written the way a middle class suburban deity would write it. His reputation and fame probably “took a hit” because He used shepherds and ladies as to testify. But he was cool with that, and still is.
Let’s be reminded that God’s identification with these shepherds (handpicked to be Jesus’ first eye-witnesses) gives us hope that He is still pleased to identify with such witnesses as us. Fortunately the one who ultimately wrote the birth narrative is still writing such a story, and still using such people.