We are a small Episcopal Church on the banks of the Rappahannock in Port Royal, Virginia. We acknowledge that we gather on the traditional land of the first people of Port Royal, the Nandtaughtacund, who are still here, and we honor with gratitude the land itself and the life of the Rappahannock Tribe. Our mission statement is to do God’s Will in all that we do.

Adoration of the Shepherds

Luke brought in the shepherds in Luke 2 to pay homage to Jesus and created another subject for Renaissance artists.

The adoration of the shepherds was never treated as a separate theme in the East and not until the 15th century in the West. At first, in Early Christian art in the 4th century, one or more shepherds were included in scenes of the adoration of the Magi.

They were depicted in such scenes because, as the first local people to worship Christ and  they symbolize the spreading of Christianity among the Jews,

This was a simple scene in contrast to the King or magi coming later.

In many of these paintings the shepherds bring humble gifts, symbolic counterparts of the magnificent ones brought by the Magi; the most frequent gift is a lamb with tied feet, perhaps also symbolizing Christ’s sacrifice. 

Scriptural basis  -From Luke 2

“In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see– I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”


“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told.