Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas for the Unseen, Unloved, and Insignificant

Photo Credit, David Niblack,

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Luke 2:8-11 ESV

When I read this passage in Luke, I usually focus on the angels, forgetting about the shepherds. While everyone else was sleeping, the shepherds were sitting out there in the dark, watching over the sheep, a job that was despised yet necessary.

I wonder if any of them were having a pity party, wishing he were snug and sound asleep at home. Did one or two of them wish for a different lot in life? I'm sure this was true of at least one of those shepherds. It seems to be the human condition to wish things were other than they are.

But then God showed up not far from them, and He made sure that the shepherds knew it. They weren't left out there alone in the fields while everyone else got to see the newborn Savior. No, while most people slept, God announced His coming to the socially unacceptable, the outcasts. He told them that this was "good news of great joy" for everyone. The shepherds got to be the first ones "in the know," some of the first to worship the Baby, and the first to share what they had seen and heard with everyone they met.

There weren't any talk shows, tabloids, or entertainment websites to make them instant worldwide celebrities, but I can imagine that those shepherds treasured that night's events for the rest of their lives. They had been some of the first witnesses to God's great love - Jesus' arrival in human form.

And even if everyone else eventually forgot about their part in that night, even if their lot in life never changed, the shepherds knew that God had honored them in a way very few had experienced, and He saw them and loved them, just as they were.

And He sees and loves us too.

Father, in a world where we often feel unseen, unloved, and insignificant, thank You for reminding us that You see us and invite us into relationship with You, just as you did the shepherds. In this time when we feel so lost and alone, we need the assurance that You are aware, and You are near. Thank You for giving us a glimpse of that in the shepherds who worshiped Christ the night of His birth. Amen.

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