A particularly wonderful minister friend gave a Christmas sermon some years ago noting that neither Sadducees (liberals) nor Pharisees (conservatives) nor the ruling king and his court (powerful and influential folks) nor Rabbis (church leaders) nor merchants (business owners) were the recipients of this world changing news. My friend postulated that was because in all of Judea, the shepherds were the only people with the capacity to hear the news without immediately veering off into thoughts of how it affected their own power or position. Instead these shepherds just followed directions ("You will find the babe....") and went to worship their King and Savior.
So on this night when we remember this amazing gift to us, let us all commit a space of time to ponder what it means that God asked and His Son agreed to become a vulnerable baby, slowly learning to control His body and develop His gray matter just like all babies must, so that He might in a little over three decades endure an excruciating, public death in our stead and raise again that we might have life eternal.
I love the King James words, "good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people". This is not a promise for a later time or for a limited few, but rather for all times and for all peoples. Rejoice today that this is true for your loved ones in jails or prison or other forms of limited living and for you, too.
Surely this is the kind of news that would indeed be delivered by a truly imposing multitude of heavenly heralds of imposing presence. Let us hear their news and consider that running full-tilt to the manger is indeed a fitting use of our time today.
" Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking turns watching their flock during the night. An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them. The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified. 10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. 11 Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David’s city." Luke 2:8-11