Hope for All: A Christmas Story (Part 2)
Good afternoon from Managua, Nicaragua!
Last week I wrote about Mary and how God used her, a normal person, to play a huge role in his story of redemption. This week I want to continue the journey through the Christmas Story to look at some other unlikely people God used on that world changing night.
The Bible tells us that they were living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks at night. They were shepherds. Being a shepherd at this time in history was not the most honored profession. Working with sheep on a daily, and many time nightly, basis made it a dirty and smelly job. Generally, shepherds were considered part of the lower class of society. One could say they were generally seen as unimportant people in the grand scheme of things. God, however, does not look at things the same as man, a group of shepherds would find out that night.
“An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manager.'” (Luke 2:9-12, NIV 1984) The story goes on to tell us that a “great company” of angels appeared with the angel and praised God. After seeing all of this the shepherds decided it was a good idea to listen to the angel so they went to Bethlehem and met Jesus, the Savior of the World. From what we can tell from the story, they were the first people outside of Jesus’ immediately family to know that he was born and to meet him. In fact, Luke’s account says that the shepherd went on the spread the word about the birth of Jesus and “all that they had seen” and that people were amazed at what they heard. Christmas night lowly shepherds became the people God used spread the word about the birth of his Son.
Like Mary, these shepherds were normal people. Also like Mary, God transformed their lives and used them to play an important role in his plan to redeem the world. This should bring us hope this Christmas. When Jesus came to our world to save us from our sins, God used the forgotten and overlooked of society to bring about his plan and to spread his message. This Christmas we each have an opportunity to be a part of his redemption plan. Jesus came for each of us, whether we are at the top or the bottom of the “food chain”. Not only that, like the shepherds, he wants to use us to tell His story and change the lives of others. Christmas is a story of hope for all.
Next week we will continue our journey through the Christmas story as we look at how God used normal people to bring about extraordinary things. Merry Christmas!
– James Belt