Prepare to Listen. Light all the candles, including the white one and pray: The LORD is king! Let the earth rejoice (Ps 97:1).
Prayerfully Read Luke 2:8-20
8In 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.
When Mary gave birth to her first-born child, no one came to celebrate; no town cryer announced the birth of the Son of God in the streets; no cameras or news media; no Facebook or twitter telling the world the good news. Jesus was born in quietness and silence.
Until the night was disturbed by a multitude of the heavenly hosts praising God and singing. But only a few shepherds in the fields outside the city saw and heard the heavenly fanfare. I often wonder why God kept the birth of Jesus so low-key, why he only revealed the good news to shepherds, an outcast group of people, distrusted and despised by city folk and the religiously devout. Not exactly the people we’d choose to be the first to hear the news of the birth of a great person.
Were these humble shepherds the only ones God could trust with a message of great joy that was “for all the people?” News not only for the religiously devout, or pious Jews waiting for Messiah, but for all the people, their race, gender, gender orientation, creed, status, notwithstanding. God, these shepherds discovered, isn’t the possession of one group of people; Jesus didn’t come to save one group. God isn’t our inherited property. God is a God for all the people.
Were only poor outcast shepherds capable of accepting this and willing to proclaim it to those who despised them?
How about you? Is your God a God for all the people? If so, how will you celebrate the good news of Jesus this glorious day?
Respond to Jesus
Lord Jesus, you came into the world in silence and humility. You lived your life in the same way, drawing the outcast groups to God. This is the good news I want to live today with your help. Amen.
Go live obediently in the world willing to proclaim the good news to all people.
I am convinced that reading the Christian Bible is essential for our Christian spiritual nourishment. I speak from experience, over 60 years of experience. I also believe we'll never get bored reading the Bible over and over. Each time I read it, I learn something new. Read with me during Advent and learn to wait for Christ with heart and mind alert for his coming. The readings draw on my background of study and teaching the Bible for over 30 years.