In the same region 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. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Lk. 2:8-11
The angels first appeared to the shepherds. Why? “Shepherd” is the same word as “pastor” in Latin. So the Good News of Jesus was first announced to the pastors. They got a sneak preview into the miracles of God, the workings of God. The same is true for pastors today–we can get tips or leads as to what God is doing, and we often get to be the first to know of a promise being fulfilled. For me, that’s the best part of ministry–getting to see first hand and front row the amazing power of God in people’s lives and in the world.
In addition, the “pastors” to whom God decided to first announce the presence of the Messiah were the pastors who were watching their flocks by night. Pastors who cared enough about those whom they were shepherding that they were watching over them, protecting them, contending for them, and comforting them in the middle of the night. This leads me to want to be more intentional about praying for people of our church throughout the night.
Also, this scripture contains a spiritual truth: oftentimes things of the spiritual world are more strongly or clearly experienced during the night. Whether it’s a miracle or word from God or a spiritual attack requiring warfare, it’s often felt more strongly at night–perhaps because the distractions of the world and tyranny of the urgent are minimized, making room for us to better pick up on things of the spiritual world?