Friday, December 2, 2016

Friday December 2, 2016 Shepherds

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
Luke 2:8-14 KJV

I don't know of any statistics, but surely this is one of the best loved and often recited passages of scripture. I can't remember a Christmas among the many I have counted when I failed to hear or read or speak these words and I pray they will never become so familiar that they no longer cause joy to well up within me. What strikes me as I read these beloved words now, as we consider how we are to watch, are the shepherds on that first Christmas night. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. How interesting that not only did God choose to come among us in the humblest form: as a helpless baby born to an unnoteworthy young couple in a dark and dusty cattle stall, but the first to hear the Good News of the saviour's birth were simple shepherds, the humblest of witnesses. Shepherds occupied the lowest rung of both the economic and social ladder of that time.  In fact they were so little trusted that they were not allowed to testify in court. Yet this is who God chose to first reveal the news of His arrival as Immanuel, God with us. We are told After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished -Luke 2:17-18 NLT
Would it not have made more sense for God to reveal His arrival to those ones who had spent their lives studying His coming? Or to those who would have great influence over others? Surely shepherds would not qualify on either of those accounts. But that is exactly the point: God is not looking for the qualified or the influential. In fact, we are told  Instead God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important. -1 Corinthians 1:27-28 NLT. In coming to the shepherds the angel brings good news of great joy to those who were considered of little value and least likely to influence their world. In so doing not only does God show us that the saviour has come for EVERYONE, but He shows that anyone can spread the Good News. And that friends includes you and I. So how about it? Are we willing to be like those shepherds? Keep watch and then have the faith to share the Good News? It would seem to be God's plan!

Surprising and marvelous God, though You have told us in Your word that Your thoughts are not our thoughts nor are your ways our ways, still we are amazed at what and who You will use to build Your kingdom. Give us faith and trust like those shepherds, we pray, that we would be steadfast in keeping watch and quick to share the Good News of salvation with those who need to hear. We ask in the name of the One we watch for even now: Lord Jesus. AMEN!

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