At midnight Mass at St. Mary Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland, Archbishop Alexander Sample pondered with worshippers why the good news of the birth of Jesus came first to shepherds.

Theologians have speculated that it might have to do with the lambs shepherds watch, since Jesus would become the lamb of God to be sacrificed. Others have written that it’s because Jesus would become known as the Good Shepherd.

The archbishop’s favorite answer is different. He believes that the angels announced the news in those fields because humble shepherds represent those for whom God shows special care and to whom he gives special missions.

“This is God’s way,” the archbishop said. “He chooses the humble and the meek, always the unexpected ones.”

The archbishop told listeners that Jesus comes for all of us, as individuals, no matter our condition in life.

“He has brought his love to you. He knows your need,” the archbishop said. “He comes to heal the wounds in us, to give us life and to give us the peace that only he can give. Will you receive him? That is the question tonight.”

Seven hours later at the cathedral’s dawn Mass, Msgr. Gerard O’Connor told worshippers a tale about his cast iron skillet. Often, he would burn his hand absentmindedly when grabbing the handle, which was uninsulated. A friend saw this happen one day and gave the monsignor a silicone handle cover.

“I didn’t even know such things existed,” the Msgr. O’Connor said, explaining that Jesus is like that for us sometimes, a gift we didn’t know we needed.