Why bother? I mean really – no one liked shepherds. They’re dirty, rough, people – largely rejected by society and rather unrefined. Yet, God decides to send a personal birth announcement to these men rather than the “movers and shakers” in Jerusalem (well, apart from the signs surrounding the temple priest Zacharias, Elizabeth and the birth of their son John). These are the ones we would expect to be overlooked in the “strategic planning.” So, aside from the obvious “God cares about everyone” (something we dare not overlook), can we learn anything from the fact that God inspires Luke to include these societally irrelevant figures? Despite the fact that these were simple, uneducated men, despite the fact that they lacked refinement, these men are an example of how we ought to respond to the Word/proclamation of God. These were hard-working men. They worked long hours. They took shifts on the late night watch. But rather than rolling over and saying “A baby? That’s nice. Catch me in the morning” these men ACT on what they heard. Lets look at what they did in response to their visitation. Continue reading Mere Shepherds? – Advent Reflections from Luke
That’s how long the silence lasted. For centuries, generation after generation of Israelites believed that they were unique among the nations because God’s presence was with them (Ex 33). God’s presence among them was made evident through the place of His dwelling (the tabernacle and temple of Solomon), and through His powerful deeds (the signs and words of the prophets). Even after the destruction of Solomon’s Temple, Israel knew her place before God was secure because the prophets still spoke – until Malachi left the scene. Certainly God still worked among His people, but where was His voice? Where was the reminder that a Deliverer would come to re-establish David’s throne? Alexander and his armies stormed through – and while God spared them from destruction, where were His spokesmen to rally their spirits? A short-lived independence, followed after a time by Roman occupation – still God is silent. 400 years, where is Messiah, where is God’s voice? Maybe God has forgotten, or worse, abandoned them. 400 years, until an old, faithful priest has an experience that leaves him speechless …. after which, nothing would ever be the same again.
In this advent season, we not only recall the faithfulness of God in ages past, but in light of His past faithfulness we rekindle hope for His return and his promise to transform ALL His good creation to its intended glory. May the certainty of this hope begin to crystallize in your heart and mind this Christmas season.
Pastor Jim Kushner