The Fields Are Alive

Luke 2:8-20

In the same region (near Bethlehem) there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.

The angel Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, (1:19) is back to earth on another mission. He seems to have no desire to appear before crowds to wow them and scare them with the message of God’s return; he doesn’t care about appearing before the religious elite and highly influential scribes and Pharisees. His recent visits instead have been with an obscure priest and a teenage girl in Nazareth. 

There’s a Pattern Here

Now, he is going out to the fields, away from the population of the towns and villages, to the sheep and shepherds. We see a pattern from Gabriel: when he leaves the presence of God in heaven to visit the earth, he hangs out with lowly people of humble means. This is a pattern that the new-born child will follow in the future: He left the presence of the Father in heaven to visit the earth where he hangs out with lowly people of humble means.

My Pattern Has Changed

Many years ago, in my 20’s, I saw myself as aspiring to be the pastor of a mega-church. I had big plans for myself. My approach was opposite of Gabriel’s. I wanted big audiences. God had other plans; most importantly, to humble me through various twists and turns in my life. God is pretty good at whatever He sets out to do, and I can attest, He’s pretty good at humbling a snot-faced, spiritually proud, young pastor.

That was then. Now, many years later, one of the great joys of my life is to speak at the noon devotions at the men’s unit of the Star of Hope. The Star of Hope is a Christ-centered community supporting Houston’s homeless men, women, and children. I marvel at how I feel when I speak to these men of lowly means. It’s exhilarating and truly an honor. Why did it take so long in my life to realize how special a ministry to the homeless really is? Why didn’t I follow the pattern of Gabriel and Jesus earlier in my life?

Out in the Fields

Shepherding had once been a noble occupation in the early times of Israel, during the time of the Patriarchs. Jacob’s sons were shepherds. But when Jacob and his tribe relocated to Egypt, they were isolated because Egyptians had a low regard for shepherds, Genesis 46:34. From that time forward, the status of a shepherd devolved through the centuries. At the time of Jesus’ birth, shepherds hung on the lower rung of social status. 

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom He is well pleased, Luke 2:13, 14.

In 1991, AC/DC, The Black Crowes and Metalica held a concert that supposedly reached nearly 1.6 million listeners. 

In complete contrast, Gabriel and his band of angels show up in an isolated field and set up on the stage for a concert of the ages. After a light-check and sound-check, the angelic band performs the greatest concert of all-time. Instead of a massive audience of hundreds of thousands and instead of a royal concert performed for the king and queen; the angels unleashed a performance of the ages to — herds of sheep and a few shepherds.

The Fields Were Alive with Music

The Great Shepherd of our souls sent His angel to announce His coming to some sheep and a few shepherds. Isn’t it ironic?

This reminds me that the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength. The apostle Paul continued by saying to the new Christians in Corinth, Brothers, consider the time of your calling; not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. (We resemble this statement). But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly and despised things of the world, and the things that are not, to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast in His presence. I Corinthians 1:25-29, Berean Study Bible.


Father, we thank You that Your ways are always perfect and all-wise. We are grateful you chose us even though we are not noble or rich. We have no room to boast because we had nothing and came from nothing; nevertheless, YOU GAVE US EVERYTHING! We praise You and honor You this day with grateful hearts and humble spirits. Amen!