Prepare to listen. Light all the candles, including the white one as a symbol of Christ in the world. Silently pause then receive this assurance: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’ (Lk 1:14)
Read: Luke 2:8-20
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. 12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, 14‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’ 15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’ 16So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
The coming of a significant person is always preceded with preparation, lots of it. And yet, the Advent of Jesus (indeed a significant person) had little preparation, except by Mary and Joseph, and his arrival was barely acknowledged by the world. He was born in an obscure town, Bethlehem, in an unlikely place, a stable, and cradled in a manger. True, angels sang in chorus announcing his birth, but they only sang to a handful of shepherds out on the hillside watching their flock by night. Shepherds, in Jesus’ culture, were an outcast, marginalized group because they had a reputation for being thieves, and they were perpetually ritually unclean because of their unclean job with sheep. These folk, living on the periphery of society, and only these folk, were chosen by God to receive ‘the good news of great joy for all the people.’ The townspeople never knew, were never told. Only marginalized and poor shepherds raced to the manger to celebrate the coming of a very significant person—Jesus, God’s Son and our Redeemer. They alone came to celebrate what we continue to celebrate—the awe-inspiring humility of God who was born as a vulnerable, helpless infant and lived among us. It was a beggarly beginning, but it changed history forever.
Wonder to whom the angels would go today to announce Jesus. Would it be you, do you think?
Respond to Jesus in prayer
Jesus, your birth was announced to the least likely people, but they faithfully rushed to see you. Help me live today with the same enthusiasm for your coming, glorifying and praising you. Amen.
Go and live obediently in the world grateful for good news of great joy.
May you who read these devotions through Advent, experience the blessing of Christmas in the God made human in Jesus. May God’s love surround you and your loved ones this joyful and awe-inspiring day.