From Matthew Chapter 2
"8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."
Few people over the age of five would knowingly trade the love of parents, siblings, a spouse, a friend or a co-worker for a great $35 present from Target. But sometimes we do. When we spend too much time running around buying presents, it is easy to forget to just hug the people next to us.
Some express their love by searching all over the city for just the right gift, wrapping it beautifully with care and presenting it with much ado. That's nice, but spending several hours with children baking cookies probably makes more of a lasting impression.
In that way, God's gifts are not always in line with our earthly expectations. In Israel all those years ago, the people were looking for a Messiah with sterling credentials, God-like appearance and wealthy parents. Instead, the got a normal baby in a manger. Worse yet, it was announced by one of the least admired groups: the shepherds.
While the wardrobe for shepherds works well in the Church Christmas play (bathrobe), God chose them to say something to us. No matter your station in life or how your life is going, God loves you. Yes you, with your warts and mistakes and inferior bank account. He chose you to tell His story to the World.
Make sure to put people ahead of things this Christmas. They need us. We need them. And God was born in a manger and died just for us and just for them.