Posted by: pmarkrobb | December 14, 2014

Advent 2014 :: week three

I am sitting in stillness of the late evening, amid the glow of white Christmas lights.  I am “walking” through the full narrative of the Nativity.  I pause occasionally and take careful note of my surroundings.  The people, places and things in this sacred drama are so intentional and so unconventional … so unconventional.  Who among us would have chosen an unwed teenager to give birth to the Christ child?  Who would have scripted an 80-mile trip on foot (or the back of a pack mule) in the ninth month of pregnancy?  Who would have hung a once-in-the-course-of-human-history type star in the sky to act as GPS for a few chosen ones to use in finding the Chosen One?

When you sit a while with the story, you are left with nothing short of awe for the incredible narrative that God penned and put in motion to bring His only son into the world to make a way for His battered, bruised and broken creation.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.
Luke 2:6-7 (NLT)

Jesus had arrived!  The miraculous plan had gone exactly as God authored it, and it was now time to announce it to the world.  Angels were cast in a leading role, but who had the Father chosen to be His earthbound hands, feet and voice in spreading the good news?  Someone intentional and highly unconventional … shepherds.

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
Luke 2:8-14 (NLT)

To say that shepherds were near the bottom rung on the ancient societal ladder would be a bit of an understatement.  Shepherds spent the vast majority of their time in the countryside, leading their flocks from one pasture to the next.  They were isolated from mainstream society and were viewed as quite peculiar.  They were nobodies and no one took particular notice of them, except maybe their own flocks.  This was, however, not how God saw them.  In God’s economy, the least are greatest and the last will be first (Luke 9:48; Matthew 19:30).  In His divine wisdom and intention, God chose a small group of shepherds to be the ones who would take the good news of His son’s birth to the world.

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Luke 2:15-20 (NLT)

As I sit amid the glow and the silence of this late evening, I am overwhelmed by God’s intentional choice of the shepherds to be His hands, feet and voice in sharing the good news with the world.  Too many times the world acts like a kid in a schoolyard exercise of picking teams who chooses the shepherd (or you and I) last.  Have you ever been picked last?  God doesn’t choose like the kid in the schoolyard.  He doesn’t choose the tallest or the fastest, the strongest or the loudest.  He chooses people like you and me … and the shepherds.  We are His messengers — His hands, His feet, His voice.  He has called us to come and see and then go and tell.  “Don’t be afraid,” He says.

May we respond as the shepherds did that night.  May we not question being chosen and not hesitate in coming and seeing, then going and telling.

The baby in Bethlehem is the Good Shepherd who leaves the 99 to go out and search for the one who is lost.  We praise and thank Him for pursuing us, and finding us, and making a way for us.  May we ponder these things in our hearts as we look with expectancy toward the celebration of that blessed baby’s birth.



  1. Thank you, after all the back row is only a matter of perspective.

  2. Enjoyed the 3rd week’s invitation to “come and see.” Thanks! 🙂 I am thankful that God invites, encourages and enables us to come and see. The town…….the manger……..the strips of cloth…….the shepherds…….the angels……..the mom……..the dad……the Baby. That Baby, like his Father, when introduced by John the Baptist, also invites others to “come and see”. Those who have come and seen then are heard saying, “come and see”. (Philip to Nathanael) It seems that all going and telling can trace it’s way back to a “come and see”. Father, might we, by Your grace and mercy, come and see this Christmas season. 🙂

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