“There were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them...” (Luke 2:8,9a).
The angel bypassed Jerusalem and the religious folks of that day and appeared to a band of shepherds “living in the fields.” No one back then would have thought that shepherds would be interested in such things, for they were hard, profane men—more like Idaho’s Owyhee County buckaroos than the sanitized shepherds we associate with the story these days.
Yet, like all of us, these were spiritual men, for “spiritual” is not something we seek, but “something we are and cannot escape” (Philosopher Dallas Willard). In all of us there is a deep, insatiable hunger for transcendence, that elusive “something more,” and our hearts break with that longing.
Here is our satisfaction: “Today in the city of David a Savior has been born for you; he is Christ the Lord.” And this is where you will find him: “wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”
And so the shepherds went off to search for the baby. They skirted the resorts, spas and lodges of the rich and famous (for there were no feed troughs there) and went looking for a stockyard, a feedlot, or a sheepfold. They found the baby “nearby” (They had no idea how near he was), lying in a manger—the "savior who is Christ the Lord.”
Let’s hear it for the shepherds who found salvation. Let’s hear it for a God who was willing to humble himself to save—the only God worth having; the only God for you and me.
The shepherds found the baby nearby—an easy thing it was to find him. I hope you’ve found him too. If not, I hope you’re still seeking. Wise men and women do.
If you’re seeking, I can tell you where to find him. He’s not in our culture, devoid as it is of any indication that our savior was born. We've left him far behind.
Not to worry, however: he’s still very near: “You’ll find him wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”