“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” – Lk 2:8–11
When you think of the shepherds tending their flocks by night does your imagination drift back to a cute Christmas pageant or possible a movie scene? The image that is cultivated in your mind may be one of hard working men in striped outfits with staffs and rope belts. This idealized view is very common, but we should not understand this scene in that way. One commentary describes the scene much differently:
“One should not romanticize the occupation of shepherds. In general shepherds were dishonest and unclean according to the standards of the law. They represent the outcasts and sinners for whom Jesus came. Such outcasts were the first recipients of the good news.”
This picture of the lowest of society in both occupation and moral living becoming the recipients of the greatest news on earth, that Jesus Christ has come to save sinners, is one we should have burned into our minds. The gospel of Christmas, that Christ has come to save humanity, is the greatest message ever given. Furthermore, it’s a message that is to be given to everyone, regardless of societal position. Each time we see someone dressed poorly, with an uneducated and foul mouth we need to be reminded that Christ died for them. Do not criticize them, mock them, or be like the publican thanking God he was not like them. They, like we once were, are slaves to sin; unable to reform themselves. But the gospel of Christ can free them from this prison of suffering and grant them repentance leading to eternal life. This is what the message of Christmas is about. It is a picture of the redemption of every saint. Go and proclaim.
 Robert H. Stein, Luke, vol. 24, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1992), 108.