The Christmas story is a clear example of how God chooses to use improbable, ordinary people to accomplish his plans. This has always been God’s way. Think of the men, women and children throughout the Bible who weren’t outstanding in any particular way that God called to do something that turned out to be spectacular. We see them leading a nation, winning battles, feeding thousands, healing sick people, speaking for God to kings, rulers and authorities and so much more. Who were these individuals that God chose to work through? People just like you and me, without much to offer in ourselves but simple faith in Christ and willingness to do what God asks.
You can’t get much more ordinary than the shepherds that were taking care of their flocks that first Christmas night. These men and women were about as out of the way and unnoticeable as it gets. They were going about their business as usual and then everything changed in an instant. God had a message for them that, if they took it to heart and responded to, would involve them in the greatest event in the history of mankind, the coming of God in human form to save people from sin.
We know from reading the story that the shepherds in fact did follow the directions that the angel gave them and as a result they experienced life transformation in the presence of Christ. Sure, they were surprised at first with the angel’s announcement, but who wouldn’t be? Who were they that God would choose them for something so extraordinary compared to their ordinary? But when common people like the shepherds obey God’s leading, things are never again the same. God is glorified not through man’s greatness but when he displays his greatness through everyday people.
I am going to talk more about this with you on Sunday. In preparation for the message, read over the Bible account in Luke 2:8-20. Do it with fresh eyes, putting yourself in the place of one of the shepherds that evening. Think about how God working in the shepherds relates to how God can work through you today and how your response to Christ can transform your life.
Also, remember to try to keep Christmas as simple as you can. Enjoy the gift that you have already been given, Jesus Christ your Saviour. Everything else is a bonus.