And there were out in the field, shepherds, keeping watch over their flock by night. When suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared before them, and they were greatly afraid.
But the angel said to them, “Fear not! For I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you. You will find the baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
Seven hundred years earlier, the prophet Isaiah said, “The Lord Himself will give you a sign. Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,” which means God with us. So the sign announced by the angel was that the prophecy had been fulfilled. Christ the Savior is born!
But this was a sign to the shepherds in another way. See, shepherds practically lived with the sheep and goats they tended. They were considered unclean by Jewish standards. But the angel said the Christ-child could be found in a manger! He slept where the animals sleep! They could go right to the place and see the Messiah for themselves.
The shepherds weren’t scholars. They wouldn’t be invited to the palace. They couldn’t even enter the temple without a bath. But these lowly shepherds were the first to hear the good news that a King was born for all people. When they heard the gospel, they came to Jesus—then they went out and told others what had been told to them!
And we should do the same. Tell everyone the good news that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, when we understand the text.