Prepare to listen as you light all the candles. Pray: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’
Prayerfully Read Luke 2:8-20
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’ When 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.’ So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The 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, and his arrival wasn’t known to the world. He was born in an obscure town, Bethlehem, an unlikely place, a stable, and cradled in a manger. Angels announced his birth 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 were perpetually ritually unclean because of their work with sheep. Yet this outcast people, living on the periphery of society were the only ones chosen by God to receive ‘the good news of great joy for all the people.’ The townspeople never knew and were never told. Only marginalized shepherds were told and promptly raced to the manger to celebrate the coming of Jesus, God’s Son and our Redeemer. They 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
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 live obediently in the world grateful for good news of great joy.