The Shepherds and the Women

Jo Acharya | January 5, 2024

Photo of a young woman herding sheep on a hillside, with text from the blog
Photo of a young woman herding sheep on a hillside, with text from the blog

I’ve been reflecting this Christmas on the shepherds and the women. The shepherds, of course, who were visited by an angel choir and became the first to see Jesus and announce his birth to others. And the women, about 33 years later, who visited his tomb, saw an angel of their own, and became the first to announce his resurrection.

I’d never put the two together, but the similarities are clear. Both groups, at the time of Jesus, had low status in society. Shepherds, who were made ritually unclean by their role caring for animals, a job that had once been respected but was now looked down upon. Women, whose lives were directed by others and whose testimony was of so little worth that it could not be used in court.

Who, if they were inventing a Saviour’s birth story, would cast shepherds as the first recipients of the news? Who, if they were inventing a Saviour’s resurrection story, would cast women as the first witnesses to the miracle? But God – God who raises up the lowly, the outcasts, the vulnerable and the poor, deliberately chooses them to play central parts in this salvation plan.

God’s great acts of love have always extended first to those last in line. The shepherds, the women, even you and me.

If you’re looking for a fresh, gentle way to rest in God’s presence, click here to check out my devotional journal ‘Refresh’ .

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