12 December 2011

Advent: The Shepherd's Story

I like the shepherd’s story during advent because God visited the margins to deliver the message of salvation. Don’t miss this -- shepherds were among the lowest of class, did the dirty work of the wealthy, were the weather-beaten workmen (and a few women like the Shunnamite).  Not exactly the shaved and perfumed people of the palace and temple who ordinarily received royalty.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. /Luke 2:15-20 (NIV)

God visits the fringes -- that place where I find my social, economic, gender, orientation, education, class, race and ability! God visits the fringes and tells us about a baby, a Savior and King.  God visits us in the dark, far off, smelly, unkempt, busy, exhausted, and impoverished places of our lives. God visits the oft ignored, over-looked, taken for granted, snubbed and invisible among us.  God visits us!

God visits the fringes and commissions us there to preach this good news which is called The Gospel.  And the shepherds did just that -- told God’s Good News to every ear that would listen. I don’t imagine the shepherd’s telling of the Gospel would be a polished, perfected elevator speech; but rather, I imagine their exuberance, in field lingo instead of the king’s english, telling of the wonder of the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace! I imagine some calloused-hand high-fives raised with their hallelujahs! I imagine joy choked out with tears! I imagine the youngest ones telling with great animation and the elder ones telling with grateful adoration -- God visited them! And, they ran and told that!

I love the shepherd’s story!!! God visits me where I am, commissions me anew to preach the Gospel, and I just cant help but break out in praise!

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