Day 23 – Shepherd’s Delight
On: November 23, 2014   |   By: admin   |   Under: Blog   |   Comments: Comments are off

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'” [Luke 2:8-12]

If the circumstances of Jesus’ birth were lowly enough, the first people to hear about it continued the downward trajectory. The Middle Eastern shepherds of 0BC would not have been the savvy, articulate types we see on a TV programme like BBC’s Countryfile. Most likely they were rough, swearing types, just as likely to steal your sand- wiches as share theirs – and land one on your nose if you tried to stop them! Towards the bottom of the economic and social food chain. A very odd choice. And yet, these were the ones to whom God chose to announce the birth of the long awaited Messiah. Hadn’t He heard they were not very nice? Why didn’t He alert the local doctor, registrar,  blogger, MP?

We can only assume that God knew exactly what He was doing. There was something quite different going on here. Something that would challenge the established order. If, yesterday, we considered a social reversal, today we are confronted with a political revolution. I hear rumblings of discontent that the author is going off track here into territory he probably knows little about. I stand firm, though. There is absolutely no way that the God of Creation, announcing the birth of the King of kings, would have chosen the circumstances we have seen if He wasn’t wanting us to ask why? British Archbishops, of both Anglican and Catholic traditions, have commented recently on governmental social and economic plans. “Nowt to do with you, be quiet”, harrumph the media and not a small number of MPs. Oh yes it is. A God Who loves all His Creation and a King who was to be the servant of all would have little truck with the structures of power and privilege that were in place then as they are now.

If we would walk in the footsteps of the King, we must urgently review where we stand. Are we actively or passively colluding with the crowd? Or are we alert to the radical values of God’s Kingdom, the founder of which was born amongst cattle and whose first visitors were ruffians? If we’re up for a review, the birth of Jesus is indeed good news. If not, the great joy promised by the angel may prove elusive.

If a rainbow reminds us of God’s promise to Noah, does a red sky remind us of Jesus’ birth? Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight!


Father God, open my eyes to the world as it truly is, that I may see something of the injustices and inequalities that must so offend You. Grant me discernment, courage and sensitivity to challenge the things you show me, that Your Kingdom may be extended and Your name glorified in all the Earth. Amen

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