Monday, December 20
Did the shepherds–speechless, cold, fearful, in awe–catch the consequence of this one word from the angel: To YOU…a Savior has been born to YOU…
We Christians, especially in the Western world, frequently fall victim to the theory of personal entitlement. We miss the significance of this three-letter word, our base neediness so easily covered in a veneer of education, social standing, wealth, religious and even personal expectations. The shepherds knew they were beneath the bottom run of society. If human courts called them unqualified, how could the angel declare this message was for them?
Yes, as Christians we have been chosen. We are loved. We stand within the priesthood of believers. We have been ransomed and redeemed. But let us not forget Paul’s honest evaluation of himself: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners–of whom I am the worst (I Timothy 1:15).
I’m not calling for “navel gazing” (self-indulgent or excessive contemplation of oneself at the expense of a wider view), but for occasional quiet meditation on Psalm 139:23-24. Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me: cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; see for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong–then guide me on the road to eternal life (The Message). Then I move to honest confession and bask in God’s generous forgiveness.
Yes, the message was emphatically for the shepherds. And the message is emphatically for me and my sisters and brothers. I am in the privileged company of shepherds.