The Hope Collective Advent Guide
Peace | Week 2 | Day 13
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
The Shepherds: Least and Lost
Christmas proves that God takes a deep interest in the so-called “unimportant people.” He arranged to have Jesus, the Son of God, born to a young peasant girl in an obscure village. It’s almost as if God were going out of His way to say, “Listen, we know that people of privilege expect privilege. It’s the underprivileged who never expect anything, so I’m going to aim at them. I’m going to give them the privilege of playing a leading role in My redemptive plan.”
In that cultural context, shepherds were nomadic lowlifes. When the gospels tell us that there were shepherds living out in the fields, that’s exactly what it means. They had to live by their wits in a rugged wilderness. They were rough folk who were always on the move, never putting down roots. When shepherds passed through town, people warned each other. Folks locked up their valuables and their daughters, keeping a respectable distance.
God sent a myriad of singing angels to announce the Good News to disliked and distrusted shepherds. In His unfathomable grace, God chose lowlife shepherds to be the first to hear of Christ’s birth. Once again, the Lord of the universe demonstrated that He intentionally reaches out to the underprivileged, the dispossessed, the shunned, the lowly, and those without hope.
Why a dramatic visit from angelic messengers? Because the people of Israel in those days had not heard a prophetic voice for hundreds of years. They were dull of hearing; their hearts were calloused. Their interest in the things of God was at a low ebb. With the angels’ appearance God intervened into their affairs and burst onto the scene to grab their attention in no uncertain terms.
These least and lost shepherds listened to the angels’ message, and in the midst of this encounter “the glory of the Lord shone around them.” It is impossible for any human being in a natural condition to look upon God and survive. But, occasionally, in various ways, the Lord gives mortals a glimpse of His brilliant glory, majesty, and purity. That is what happened here. Although the shepherds probably had been told over and over again that they were worthless, God in His glory shined upon them.
– Stuart and Jill Briscoe, Meet Him at the Manger, org. Used with permission.
Lord, thank you for entrusting the lowly with the message of peace from angels. In this Advent season, help me to look on people all around me as you did—as lost souls who need to see the light of the Savior illuminated. Help me find peace in you this season and offer that peace to the people I rub shoulders with every day. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Encourage a mom in a store who is dealing with child who is “melting down.”
Leave a basket of packaged snacks and cans of soda for delivery people at your front door with a note thanking them for their service.
Offer to foster a pet over the holidays for your local animal shelter.
Choose a few small gifts to unwrap early. Celebrate together that God gave us such an amazing ad unexpected gift as Jesus!