December 25, Friday

Luke 2:16-20 (NRSV)

So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

They were shepherds. I imagine each one with dirt under his nails and sheep wool in his robe. That morning, he probably cupped his hands around a warm cup of coffee while the steam ascended into the cool Bethlehem morning. Perhaps he clocked in at the stable before he prepped the sheep, just like he did every day of his adult life. I imagine him sitting under the shade of a sycamore tree while eating lunch with the other shepherds, discussing the politics of Rome and the local economy. Did all of them take an afternoon siesta while the sheep slept under that tree? We don’t really know. All we know is that they were normal people going about their normal duties. They were shepherds!

But that night, they were privy to the most extraordinary activity. This was the night when the heavens stooped to kiss the earth. This was the night that God revealed himself in the most powerful and pertinent way. This was the night when both the Creator and creation experienced something new. This was the night when the angels sang of peace on earth and goodwill to men.

And those who were invited to the party, those who had a front row seat, were shepherds, who epitomized the ordinary. Of course, if God drew near shepherds, if God was active amidst the shepherds, if God was born amidst the shepherds, to whom would God NOT speak?  

In this way, Christmas doesn’t challenge us to rethink what is miraculous and extraordinary. Christmas demands we reconsider what we typically call ordinary- namely…ourselves.

How do you see God moving in the ordinary places of your life?

Loving God, in this season we are mindful of your presence amidst the most ordinary and mundane places of our lives. Help us to be with you, even as you are with us. And like the shepherds, enable us to be sensitive to what you are doing in our everyday lives so that we might also praise God for all we have seen and heard. Amen.

By Preston Clegg, CBFAR Moderator
Pastor, Second Baptist Church, Little Rock


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