Blessed Night Watch

There were ... shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came - Luke 2:8 - 9

We should notice that it was while these shepherds were at their common, humble work that they had this wonderful vision. The best place to have the angels come to us is always at our post of duty, no matter how lowly it is. They never show themselves to one who is ashamed of his calling, or too indolent to be faithful at his proper work.

It did not seem a very pleasant way to live, to be poor, and to have to stay out all night in the field, and keep awake and watch the sheep. No doubt the people who lived in the great houses thought the poor shepherds had a hard time of it, and perhaps they even despised them for their lowly work and their poverty. It may be that the shepherds themselves sometimes envied the people who had fine houses and lived in luxury, and never needed to work hard or to stay up nights. At least, a good many people, in these modern days, who have to work hard are disposed to be envious of the rich. But it is quite certain that these shepherds were never sorry after that night that they were poor shepherds, and that they were at their post at that time. If they had thought themselves too good or too fine to do such work, and had given up their position for something more elegant or more respectable, they would have missed the angelic visit that night, and would have lost the honour of being the first to hear the announcement of the Saviour's birth.

We never know what we lose by being out of our place of duty. Celestial visions do not come to those who despise God's allotments in life. The angel honoured poverty and faithfulness when He came to the shepherds rather than to the door of some lordly palace, to proclaim His glorious tidings. The best place to be in is always the place of duty.