There was a reason why shepherds were the first to hear the Good News of Jesus' birth.
Many saints have wondered over the years why the angels visited shepherds on that fateful Christmas night. It is a mystery that isn’t completely explained in scripture, and as a result, provides ample food for spiritual meditation.
In a prayer book entitled, The little book of the most holy child Jesus, published in 1876, there is a short meditation on the simplicity of the shepherds and their “singleness of heart.”
They are men of good-will; their hearts are brave and pure. They are true and single-hearted men…The shepherds stay not, nor linger with their flocks. They hasten to the stable, and there they behold Mary, and Joseph, and the Infant lying in the manger.Happy shepherds, pure hearts, simple souls; after Mary and Joseph the first of earth to worship the new-born King. To please God in all their ways was the one aim of these holy men, these shepherds of Judea.
Their eyes gazed upon Jesus their Savior, and now they dwell in His joy.
Angels did not first appear to royalty or those in power, but to the simple shepherds, whose faith was pure. They have much to teach us about simplicity and humility in our devotion.
On Christmas, let us meditate on the shepherds and try to imitate their simple faith, open to receiving the message of the angels and ready to drop what they were doing to venerate the newborn King.
I, too, will be simple in heart, and in all things try to please Thee alone. For this, dear Jesus, give me Thy holy grace.Mary, pray for me, that I may have a heart of good-will, that I may be pure and simple like the first worshippers of the Holy Child.Joseph, to whose tender care the Good Shepherd gave Himself, take care of me; pray for me to thy Foster-Son, that I may belong to the Holy Family now, at my death, and for evermore.Most Holy Child Jesus, save Thy children. Amen.