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! – Luke 2:8-21
Shepherds were blue-collar workers, doing a dirty, smelly, solitary job; they were looked down upon by their society. Yet God knew they would be the most completely at home in a stable to celebrate the birth of His Son. God choose this location and these shepherds so that we would know today that the most common of people should feel welcome and at ease in His presence.
According to the book of James, we are to show no favoritism. Most of us would agree with this comment, but do we really live it out in the real world? How do we provide an atmosphere of “inclusion”? Would some people feel “not good enough” to seek the Christ Child in our midst?
He is with us every day, in every place – not just in sanctuaries and “holy” places – but in our homes, on our jobs, throughout our communities and wherever we invite Him in. Find ways to prioritize grace and acceptance, so that everyone will want to share in the celebration of the Savior. In welcoming the “shepherds” of the world, we welcome God.
Befriend someone – a widowed neighbor, an “outsider” at work, a new person at church. Identify someone that you can make feel like they belong on the inside this Christmas and you may change how they feel from now on.
Sue Breland, Worship For One: Advent Emmanuel ©