“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 fear.” Luke 2:8-9
Sheep herding was considered a noble occupation in the old Testament.
Abraham (Genesis 13) is described as having much livestock, herds, and flocks of sheep. Moses (Exodus 3:1) was a shepherd: “Meanwhile, Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro.” David (1Samuel 17) was a shepherd who took care of his father’s flocks.
I have sometimes wondered if David wrote some of his psalms (songs) while tending the sheep. He would have had plenty of time, and certainly the psalms, especially everyone’s favorite (Ps. 23) “the Lord is my Shepherd” could only have been written by someone who understood the sheep.
The prophets tell of God’s relationship with His chosen people in terms of a shepherd and his flock.
But by the time Jesus appeared on the scene shepherds were considered to be dishonest and unclean according to the law. They represented the outcasts and sinners for whom Jesus came.
So is it any wonder that the first recorded people the angels appeared to to tell of the wondrous Birth, were the very people who needed Him the most?
Jesus later would identify Himself as both the Good Shepherd (John 10:11).and the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World (John 1: 29).