And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
(Luke 2:8-15 NIV)
Shepherds? God sent his angels to the Shepherds? What kind of Messiah is this? Since when does God almighty, ruler of heaven and earth, send word to lowly, ignorant shepherds? What kind of God would let his son be born in a shabby manger? That’s totally absurd! Be gone from my presence you lowly shepherds!
Yet, it all makes so much sense. Our Father sent his most holy, his most loved, his only son to be conceived by a woman of low earthly stature and to be born into very humble circumstances. Our Lord, our Messiah came as a servant. He came in the back door of this world, and the people of that time were waiting by the front door. They were looking up, when they should have been looking down.
Today, which direction are we focusing our attention. If he appeared at this time, would we be looking up again? Would we believe the lowly peoples he would send his angels to with the glorious news? Our Father does have a long history of using the most unlikely of people for his instruments. Isn’t our Father so mysterious, so exciting, so unpredictable? Why would he let a lowly person such as myself write for him? Who is that person standing on the street corner appearing to be a bum, an outcast?
Be careful, whom you put down. What class of people was our Lord accused of associating with by the Pharisees, the religious leaders? Are we the modern day Pharisees; reciting the law, yet knowing not the spirit of the law, the scripture?
Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures:
“‘The stone the builders rejected
has become the cornerstone;
the Lord has done this,
and it is marvelous in our eyes’
(Matthew 21:42 NIV)
My brothers in Christ, let us not be caught looking in the wrong direction and unprepared to listen to our Father’s messengers.
“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’
(Matthew 2:6 NIV)
Such a splendid and holy time of each year when we celebrate our Messiah’s birth. His son teaches us to serve others, to love all, to have compassion when none is deserved, to forgive all who sin against us. No more powerful an act exists than the forgiving of others. What beauty and love in that act. Our Messiah’s message of the Good News astounded mankind then and now; so simple, yet, so powerful, so humbling. All Glory to God, our Father.