|Posted by thethousandmarch on December 24, 2011 at 1:35 PM|
. . . [T]here 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.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
This is the good news, what we call the Gospel, and this is why we celebrate Christmas. This is the announcement Christians should be making concerning Christmas; let’s stop the culture war. Let’s meet any animosity we may encounter with the same gentleness God demonstrated. He put aside his position of power and glory to take on the form of a human – not showing up as a powerful warrior, or well positioned politician, but a helpless baby born to two seemingly insignificant Jewish peasants. He did not demand that the world even take notice of his birth, but instead entered this world practically unnoticed. Apparently the angels could not contain themselves and they had to tell someone.
Now, shepherds are generally not considered to be particularly important, or savory, people. Yet, I can’t help but think they have a special place in the heart of God. The patriarchs were nomadic herdsmen. Moses was a shepherd of sheep for forty years, and a shepherd of Israel for forty more. King David, the great messiah of the Old Testament, was a shepherd as well. And, the shepherd metaphor is used extensively by God to describe himself; it tells us much about his nature. He is the good shepherd. And, here we see that these seemingly unimportant people are the ones to whom the angels made their announcement of good news. Today the Messiah (the anointed one) – the promised King of Israel – has been born and he will save the world from sin, death and destruction. This is good news, which causes great joy for all people. This is the news Christians have been entrusted with, the news we are to tell the world.