Hands up all those who read today’s verses and thought of a glittery Christmas card nativity scene, or a sweet children’s school play, or a great painting portraying the shepherds as rustic, noble “sons of the soil”. If you are truthful and your hand is raised, then please go back and read the verses again, and again, and again….until the light dawns on you.
Still struggling? Try a reality check instead. For the shepherds; think Syrian refugees, street kids in Brazil or India, Coptic Christians in Egypt or Sudan. Downtrodden under an oppressor (the Romans), out on the very edge of society, the shepherds had a rough time from almost everybody.
Would we listen if God spoke to the marginalised before He bothered with us, the spiritually enlightened?! God sends his angels to start a celebration with a bunch of apparent nobodies. The angels made the noise but it was God who spoke and still does – He caused the shepherds to move from being inconsequential to being the most important people on earth, however briefly. Why? Because suddenly they were the happiest people on the planet and they wanted everyone to come to the party. God speaks to nobodies and through them miracles happen!
This is the greatest news ever, the announcement of Jesus’ birth: “Thank You God for sending Jesus, thank You Jesus that You came”. Help us, like the shepherds, to share with others the GOOD NEWS of Jesus’ birth, not just at Christmas but every day.
Jesus was born, died and rose again for everyone. Praise the Lord!
Philip and Alison Bell