Where exactly did the events of Luke 2:8-20 (the shepherds at the nativity) occur? Why is this event significant?

Expert Answers
thewritingteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Luke 2:8-20 is the story of the shepherds at the birth of Christ. The event is significant on a number of levels, but the most important is in the symbolism of whom the shepherds represent in society.

At the time of Christ, the shepherd was ranked as one of the lowest members of society. To the gentiles they were poor, smelly, uneducated loners. To the religious they were ceremonially unclean, and therefore despised---even though without shepherds there would be no lambs for sacrifices. Shepherds lived with their flocks outside of towns and villages, often sleeping at the entrance of the sheepfold in order to keep thieves and wild animals from getting to the flock. The life of a shepherd was hard and lonely.That the angels announced the birth of Jesus to these falls inot line with Luke's purpose for writing: Jesus is the Son of Man who came to be Savior for ALL men, not just religious or wealthy or laudable.

The shepherds also demonstrated great faith. They never questioned the angels' appearance or message. They had no debate, no questions, and no reservtions. They simply went to " see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” (v. 15)

Luke's gospel remains consistent with his theme as he illustrates time and time again that while the religious leaders and influential people failed to see Jesus as Son of God and Son of Man, the poor understood the Savior.