Friday, December 10, 2010
Christmas Reflections, Part 4
The word “unlikely” is the single best word to apply to the entire cast of the Christmas story. Mary, a teenage girl who is perhaps 13, is chosen to be the mother of Jesus. Joseph, an older, unmarried and easy to overlook man is chosen to be an earthly father to Jesus. And, a group of smelly shepherds living in the fields with their sheep who were notorious for dishonesty and a lack of integrity are chosen to be the first witnesses to the birth of the Savior.
How unlikely are we for God to use in profound, eternal ways?
Luke 2:8-12 tells us that the shepherds were watching over their flocks one night when an angel visited them and announced that the Savior had been born in Bethlehem. After the angel departs the shepherds basically dash to where Joseph and Mary are with the baby Jesus. Yet, the angel did not command them to go and worship. Their haste to draw near to God and the activity of God was not due to obedience but to awe and hunger.
The shepherds were awed by the announcement of Jesus’ birth and hungry to see and be near the manifest presence of God. All God had to do was give a hint that the Christ child would be found wrapped in swaddling clothes and the shepherds were off searching.
Are you awed by the messages in Scripture? Are you stirred to hunger and thirst after God while praying, while observing nature, or while experiencing music or art? Is there quickness to your movement toward God? When the shepherds told the story of their encounter with the angel, others were amazed and astonished about God (Luke 2:18). Do you have stories of interaction with God that cause others sit up and take note?
Who are these shepherds? What are their names? What happened to them after visiting the Christ child? All we know of the shepherds is that on one night of their lives God drew near and they were highly responsive. Meeting and responding to Jesus is the most important thing that will ever happen to you.