“See The Shepherds”
There are so many characters in the Christmas story. Names we hear this time of year. Mary and Joseph. Elizabeth and Zechariah. Angels. John the Baptist.
All of whom play a very important part in the time before the first Christmas. All have very important parts in this reason why we celebrate. The gift of God’s Son coming to earth as a baby.
You see, God decided it was time for Him to come into the world Himself. Jesus is God among us. Jesus is the one who came so we would know God better. But not just better, so we could know Him as a teacher, a healer, a brother, a friend.
His coming to the earth was the next step in His plan to reveal Himself to us. It was to show that it means so much more than the rules and the vision of the angry God so many take from reading the Old Testament.
It’s not supposed to be like that at all. God comes to show us how it really ought to be. That is, a relationship built on love. And love can only happen when a relationship is formed. So God comes.
As we look over the characters who are involved with the lead-up to this event. Mary, a young peasant woman, engaged to a carpenter Joseph; chosen to be God’s mother?
Zechariah and Elizabeth, and elderly couple unable to have children were chosen to have birth to John. A man who would grow up in the wilderness, homeless, but preaching about the coming Messiah, and coming soon.
Notice God didn’t do all this through the powerful, the elite, the decision-makers of the day. He did it all through the unnoticed, the weak, the nobodies.
There are other characters in the Christmas story. There are those who receive the first announcement after the birth.
There are the shepherds.
Now talk about nobodies. Shepherds were barely considered to be human in their day. No one wanted to be near them, they lived on the hills with their flocks. They were dirty, smelly, uneducated. They weren’t exactly the ones you’d want coming to your party, and certainly not a baby shower!
Yet these outcasts are chosen as the first hearers of the Good News that the Saviour has come. Not kings, not presidents, not reporters, but shepherds. People seen as not worthy of much of anything at all.
These may be the most important people in the entire story. Not because of who they are, but because of who the represent.
Shepherds represent the outcasts, the lowly, the weak, the voiceless, the hated, the unworthy, the sinners. They represent everyone Jesus has come for.
They represent us.
On this beautiful night, we sing our carols, we offer our prayers, we light our candles. We come to enjoy the beauty of this service, we enjoy the quiet, the stillness, the lights, the music. There is so much to enjoy about this service.
But strip away it all and the message remains the same.
Jesus Christ is born. God has come into the world to bring love and peace.
He didn’t come for kings and rulers. He didn’t come for the rich and famous. Jesus came for everyone. But most of all, he came for you.
In a stable, some 2000 years ago, God came to the earth. Why? To show how much He loves us through a personal relationship that continues today.
Merry Christmas to one and all.