The Shepherds

Monday, December 21, 2009
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Luke 2:10-12,15 – And the angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger." When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us." (ESV)

During the past summer, I was busy at home fitting a kitchen. Periodically, I took time to read my daughter's Bible story book with her. I say "with her", only in the sense that she sat on a pillow in my crooked arm, whilst she looked at the pictures. She cuddled up and listened to my voice, Zoë being only fourteen months old!

I, too, however, was listening — to my Master's voice, which spoke to me through those illustrated cardboard pages afresh. My thought was simply this:

Shepherds, then, were perceived as a part of the lower echelons of society. If Jesus had not been born in a stable, would those shepherds have been so ready to go to see him? When they went, would they have been let in through the front door of the hotel?

As I understand it, Luke's gospel is renowned as the gospel with a perspective for the Greek and "ordinary" people. Sadly, although this has been known to me for many years, this particular insight had been obscured by the Christmas-time over-familiarity. Yes, it was a great revelation to the shepherds that this wonder was laid open to them, but there is more underneath.

This truth, however, was made more apparent today: Jesus laid himself open, even from the very beginning, to be available to all who are willing to have a look-see! The angel's good news was for "all the people".

No matter who we are, we are called to visit Jesus.

Something for us Christians and the church to consider today: How are we presenting Jesus? Are we openly welcoming enquirers of Jesus? How are we perceived: familiar as a stable to shepherds, or formal and officious like a posh hotel? Just a thought!

Prayer: Lord, we are truly sorry if we have been remote and unwelcoming toward those whom You are calling to visit You through us today. Forgive us our past, and enable us to seek the lost with the openness You portrayed 2000 years ago in that stable, as well as on the cross. Thank You for loving us. Amen.

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Rod Marshall <>
Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England

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