Advent Day 15: Shepherds and Angels



One of the great ironies surrounding the narrative of Christ’s birth is the manner in which God announces the birth of His Son and the people to whom He announces it.  We have already considered Mary and Joseph, though in the bloodline of David, neither are royalty by human standards.  Mary, in particular, is visited by Gabriel, one of the Archangels that stands in the throne room of Heaven.  By all worldly standards, the truly appropriate people would be royalty, and the place a palace.
Instead, however, God has chosen to work through some of the “least of these” to bring about His plan of Salvation.  Following suit, God’s announcement on the night of Jesus’ birth comes to those we would least expect.  Shepherds were the lowest of the so-called “totem pole.”  These truly were the least of all people by human standards.  Dirty, cheating and untrustworthy were their titles.  Even this is ironic seeing as the people of Israel were settled away from the Egyptians, in the land of Goshen, because they were indeed Shepherds.
Despite their outcast status, God sends a host of heavenly angels to announce the birth of His Son specifically to them.  Though their appearance is certainly startling, their message of peace and the birth of the Messiah have impacted the world for generations.
Interestingly, God’s message to the shepherds is somewhat of a microcosm of His plan of Salvation.  We who are outcasts because of sin, hear the message of Salvation through the Gospel message.  When we hear this message, we encounter God in a very real way.  Though it may not be the light of angels piercing the darkness of night, our encounter is no less divine.  The question we all face, though, is: what are we going to do about it?


God of Love and Mercy,
You reach down into this world, into our lives,
pursuing us when we are far from You.
Even when we were Your enemies, You showed us Your love
by sending Your Son into this world as our Messiah.
We thank You for Gospel truth and for calling us to Yourself.
Help us, each day, to continually respond to Your love,
and to tell others about Jesus so that they may encounter Your love too.

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