What is it about the underdog that we like? We root for them. We pull for them. We feel sorry for them. We feel like they get treated unjustly.

Bottom line: we have a soft spot in our hearts for the underdog.

Maybe it’s because we identify with them.

We’ve all felt like we don’t measure up to the competition at one time or another. There are times we’ve all felt we had a slim-to-none chance. We’ve all felt like we didn’t have what it takes at some time or another… or, at least, the people we looked up to and respected felt that way.

Maybe that’s why our hearts go to the shepherds of the nativity.

Joseph and Mary have Jesus – that’s pretty important.

The wise men or magi came with expensive gifts. The shepherds couldn’t afford that.

The angel… well, he got to proclaim the good news of Jesus birth. Can’t compete with a news anchor with that kind of breaking news.

And then there are the shepherds. Sure, they’re important to the nativity set, but what makes them more than… window dressing?

Interesting you should ask. Because, truth be told, it seems that throughout biblical history their status has fluctuated a little like the stock market.

If you read the Old Testament, you’d see a lot of love for shepherds. But when Israel was Egypt, not so much. Let’s just say they didn’t have much good to say about shepherds. Seems they may have even soured Israel’s own view of the occupation.

By the time you get to Jesus’ day, historians tend to believe that shepherding wasn’t considered an enviable occupational pursuit. Put another way, shepherds were the lower class.

So, guess who God decides to tell first about Jesus’ birth? You guessed it, the shepherds.

And God didn’t whisper the announcement. He filled the sky with His glory and a whole bunch of angels, straight from the courts of heaven. Here’s how it went down:

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Seems that God roots for the underdog, too.

Remember that. Whenever you don’t feel accepted or you feel a little marginalized or taken for granted, God accepts you.

He’s in your corner. You are His creation. He loves you and nothing nor no one else will ever change that.

So, this Christmas, rejoice with fellow shepherds. God wants you to know that Jesus came for you. For your forgiveness. So you could experience the full life He has for you.