Advent Thoughts: A Down-to-earth Message
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 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, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
(Luke 2:8-20, NLT)
Nativity scene in Bronner's entrance in Frankenmuth, Michigan
The shepherds were considered lowly in ancient Israel. Their clothes became dirty and smelly from working in the fields with the sheep, herding them and protecting them. If a shepherd walked by someone in town, the average citizen sidestepped them. They didn’t garner attention like the Pharisees and scribes, dressed well and scented with expensive oils, people who took pride in following the law, so that others could observe.
The Lord didn’t send his angels to the rich and religious the night Jesus was born in a room kept for animals. He sent them to the lowly shepherds, telling them to “fear not” and giving them a message of great joy and salvation to come. The account of the shepherds visiting Christ at the time of His birth speaks for itself. It’s simply this: Sinner or saint, worship the one who loves you and was willing to sacrifice His life for you, when you’ve done nothing to deserve it—myself included. He reaches out to you, wherever you are in life.
Father, open our eyes to see that we need to trust in You, to receive your love sent to us, your glory wrapped in the body of the baby Jesus, who came to live among us and give His life for us. Thank you for the best gift of all. Amen.
Have a blessed and wonderful Christmas!
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