The angel of the Lord appeared to the shepherds who were then in the fields keeping the night watch over their flock.
The glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear.
The angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today, in the City of David, a Savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord!"
In that little town of Bethlehem, nobody except Mary and Joseph knew that God the Son has descended on earth and was born as a lowly infant. For this news of joy to be shared to all people, shepherds became recipients and emissaries of such a profound mystery.
The descent of God the Son continues to be cloaked under the humble appearance of bread and wine. Again, the news of His arrival is first revealed to shepherds, to priests under whose breath the mystery takes place and in whose hands the Lord surrenders Himself. The shepherds must be the first to recognize what has transpired inconspicuously. In the old rite, the priest first kneels in adoration before elevating God's Flesh to the people. He is the first to see His arrival. He is the first to fall in silent adoration before the hidden presence of so great a God. He musters enough courage to raise this hidden God for all people to behold. Without a word in that elevation, he proclaims the angelic message loud and clear: Behold, this is the Christ! This is the Lord! Have no fear, let us adore Him!