Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Mid-Week Message - Chosen Shepherds

"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you:  You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'"  Luke 2:8-12 (NIV)  

Who were they, these shepherds?  There is more to their story than the fact that they kept sheep.  Did they have families?  How old were they?  How many of them were there?  What did they talk about as they passed the time?  Did they have dreams of doing other things?  How is it that they just happened to be where they were that momentous night?  

I think about these things as I read the story of our Savior's birth.  I know the facts but I wonder about the individuals involved.  These were souls made in the image of our Creator Himself and loved fully by Him.  Though others may have thought they did a lowly job that left them smelling of the animals they tended, they were honored above all others with the angelic announcement.  In our world, we would expect that the elite would be the first to know, but God chose the lowly to receive the most important news ever proclaimed just as He chose a lowly feeding trough for the King of Kings to lay His newborn head.  

What must have been going through the minds of these chosen ones?  The Messiah had been anticipated for centuries.  Suddenly they are told that He has arrived.  Aside from the fear of beholding a heavenly being, what did they feel?  As they made the journey to the manger, what were they expecting?  Were they focused on the baby they would find there or were they worried about the sheep that they were leaving unattended?  They must have been astounded to find God's Son lying in a bed of hay, surrounded by livestock and I ponder their amazement as they knelt before Him.

As He did that night, our Lord meets us where we are and as we are. Whether it be in a field with bleating sheep, or in a boardroom with executives, He is available and ready for each of us.  The shepherds saw Him as a vulnerable infant.  We get to meet Him as a risen Savior.  But for all of us, He is God's provision and fulfilled promise.  

As you read the nativity story this Christmas, spend some time considering all those who were present.  Remember that the wise men, though important, did not visit Him at His birth.  Some scholars estimate that it may have taken them as long as two years to make their journey.  My challenge is to think of that blessed night and who the Lord chose to welcome the Prince of Peace to the world He was sent to save.  If it had been you, how would you have reacted?  How do you respond to Him now?  The shepherds were people, dear to the Father, just like us.  That gives us a lot to consider.  Have a blessed week.  

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