The shepherds couldn't wash their hands enough to suit orthodox religiosity. Because of their constant care of their herds, they could not observe all the ceremonial hand washings and all the other rules and regulations required to be good and proper. These simple men were looked down upon by orthodox religious leaders.
Yet, it was these simple men that the coming of Jesus was first announced. And, I think about the wise men who had to come from afar whereas these shepherds were "in the same country." The wise men had to follow a star, but the second class citizen shepherds were honored with an angel of the Lord making the announcement. The "glory of the Lord shone round about them." The angel made the announcement giving clear directions to the Christ child. And a multitude from heaven had a praise service glorifying God. The shepherd had lots more than a single star to follow across a foriegn country. They got the message vividly, personally, and they were close enough to walk to see Jesus.
This is not to take away from the faithfulness and the arduous travel of the wise men, but they had much farther to come on many levels. They had so many other things that came between them and worship of the Lord. They had money; probably had influence. They lived in a different culture. Yet they set aside all that to follow what the Lord had put in their hearts and the star God had provided for them.
And I think about our culture, with all of our personal "stuff," both materially and personally that can come between us and Jesus. Perhaps, we too have far to come and much to set aside to truly worship our Savior "which is Christ the Lord." At this Christmas season I would hope we would listen: listen to what God has put upon our hearts and put aside all that would come between us to take the hard path to follow our star to go and worship the Christ child.