By: Alyssa Lucas
“Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified” (Luke 2:9).
One of my worst waking memories was when I was in elementary school.
I dislike mornings so much that I never jump right out of bed, and this morning was no different. Mom had already tried to rouse me and was busy fixing breakfast. I took advantage of this and stayed in bed dozing off when, all of a sudden, my brother burst into my room, flipped the light on, and started singing, jumping on my bed, and shaking me awake. What an unpleasant jolt that was!
Even though the shepherds weren’t sleeping, I am convinced that I experienced a fraction of the surprise they experienced when angels appeared out of nowhere onto that dark hillside!
The Word tells us they were terrified, and rightly so! If I were them, I might not have stuck around long enough to find out what the angels had to say. Maybe they were scared because of the suddenness of the angels’ appearance with singing. Perhaps it was the message that spellbound them: that they got to experience the awe of the newborn Messiah, come to save them at last! Or maybe they were afraid because of to whom the message came. Just some shepherds. Not to Herod. Not to the high priest. Not even to some wealthy businessmen. Just shepherds.
Whether the shepherds were considered outcasts or not, the fact remains that their job wasn’t exactly the most glamorous, nor did it bring them fame or money. It was a quite thankless job and often pretty smelly for shepherd and sheep alike. So why them? Why give a weighty message like that to people who didn’t even have a great social circle?
I think God wanted to make a point.
A lot of the Messiah-seekers of that day wanted a “real king” to deliver them from Roman oppression and make Israel number one among the nations like it used to be. A king to bring them into prosperity and wealth.
But, while Christ did come for freedom, it was not from Rome or taxation, but from sin.
God was using the shepherds as an object lesson to tell the needy, “I’m here! You don’t have to be in bondage to your old life anymore!”
Maybe that’s part of your fear: why me? What makes me different? Why do I have to struggle with this circumstance? Why can’t I get ahead? Why is life such a drag?
Sometimes this holiday season can bring out some deep wounds, insecurities, stress, financial difficulty, etc.
Take a moment to remember why He came. He didn’t necessarily come to conquer nations, give folks a life of ease, or make everything make sense in our lives. He came to have a relationship with YOU: the King of Heaven wants to be invited into the chaos you feel.
So don’t be afraid. Rest assured today in the simple yet profound fact that He loves you specifically. He has come to be “God with you.”
If you were the only one with whom He had to share Christmas, He would’ve come for you.
Read more of this Advent Devotional and other Daily Pursuits at www.dailypursuits.blog