Luke 2:16 – So [the shepherds] went with haste, and [by searching] found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. (AMP)
It always amazes me that God made Jesus' birth announcement to lowly, unimportant shepherds. Why? Does it mean that Jesus' mission was to be with the unimportant people, the poor, the outcast, and the needy? It certainly unfolded in that way. But is there more to it? Is God making this wonderful, amazing birth announcement to all of us unimportant, seemingly weak, earth creatures? Are we important or unimportant to God?
When a first-time mother gives birth, who hears first? The grandparents do, of course! We know little about Jesus' earthly grandparents. We are told in Luke 2, with the birth of God's first-born Son, that it is shepherds who first hear the wonderful news. Luke makes a point of recording this, and down through the ages, believers have responded to those shepherds and reached out with God's announcement to the ordinary, the poor, the uneducated, the unimportant people!
I have never been blessed with a child, but in the ministry, I have had many, many spiritual children. Some have grown up to be leaders, teachers, doctors, ministers, people we accord some importance to in our society. I look back now and wonder, did I stress to them that Jesus would want them to reach out to the unimportant people around them — those alone on that other street?
The shepherds make us think: Why did God do it that way, announcing the best news in history to unimportant people? With the divine example in front of us, do we share the good news with our seemingly unimportant neighbours? Do our churches announce the wonderful news to the poor and needy in the neighbourhood, or do we just share with our own "kind"?
Prayer: Dear Lord, forgive us for keeping the news about Jesus just to our close friends. May we make a huge effort this Christmas to invite the seemingly unimportant to witness the birth of Jesus, Your Son. We know You favour the unimportant, for Jesus' message emphasized this. We hear echoing from our skies the announcement for us today: "God's Spirit is on me; he's chosen me to preach the Message of good news to the poor, sent me to announce pardon to prisoners and recovery of sight to the blind, to set the burdened and battered free, to announce, 'This is God's year to act!'" (Luke 4:18-19 MSG) Lord, we hear You. May Your Spirit fill us, motivating us to reach out to the seemingly unimportant in our communities in Jesus' name. Amen.