Wednesday, 23 December 2009

a Saviour who is Christ the Lord

The clearest statement of the implications of the birth of Christ was revealed to an unexpected group of men; not a priest like Zacahrias, or to the wise Magi, but to simply uneducated shepherds who were keeping watch over their flock. When we think of shepherds we must be sure to guard against the mental picture of our British hill shepherds. These sleep in their warm beds at night and now only 'guard' the sheep against their own folly. I recall watching some Romanian shepherds some years ago. They were huddled around a large fire and carried heavy stick to defend their flock against bears and wolves. They wore evil smelling sheepskins and were not the kind of people you would want to invite to the hospital to welcome the arrival of your baby!

The shepherds represent the outsiders. They were disapproved of by the religious leaders as a result of their irregular pattern of life and their irregular attendance in the religious festivals. And yet it was to these unlikely social outcasts that the herald angels gave their proclamation; "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord". Luke 2:11

And the promise was not just for a spiritual or intellectual elite but was the promise of 'great joy which will be to all people.' Luke 2:10. On the assumption that you are not a visitor from another planet, there is a wonderful welcome for you here. Although religious particularism and social etiquette might exclude these shepherds, this message specifically declares that the message is for 'all people'. Human beings constantly draw little circles around their own groups to exclude the non-conformers but the angels draw a larger circle which encompasses all our petty divisions. They have the divine perspective.

'Glory to God in the highest,

And on earth peace and goodwill among men'

Luke 2:14


Simon Tucker said...

Thanks Ron for all these posts and all the hard work that has gone into each of them.
I was strengthened and fed reading them. Sometimes we get so very lean and starved (without often knowing how to feed ourselves). Thank you.
I think GWN once said akin to " You can't build up others - without first building up yourself(Jude 1:20)"

Ron Bailey said...

Thanks Simon, your appreciation is appreciated!