I continue to reflect upon the “coming” of Jesus as the days draw closer to the celebration of His birth. If you missed my first post on advent, you can find it here.
As I meditate on a number of different perspectives and on Scripture, I was particularly struck this week by how God chose some pretty anonymous people to play significant roles in the birth of Jesus.
There’s Mary, who was a young teenager, when Gabriel visited to tell her she would be birthing the greatest human to have ever lived. God, in fact.
The shepherds were tending their sheep on the night Jesus was born. I understand the occupation of shepherd was considered a quite lowly one in Jewish society at that time. But it was they, who received the visit from an angel of the Lord, and “the glory of the Lord shone around them.” (Luke 2:9) No wonder Scripture describes them as being “greatly afraid.”
At this momentous occasion, the “glory of the Lord” didn’t shine on Herod or the leaders of Jewish society, but rather the lowly shepherds who were performing their job of tending sheep.
And what did they do in response to the angel’s appearance?
“Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” (Luke 2: 15)
They obeyed by telling everyone they came across that the baby born this night was “Christ the Lord.”
I also read this week from a highly regarded pastor who suggested that at the birth of Jesus, accompanying Mary and Joseph, was likely to be a family member who served as a “mid-wife” in the delivery. But there is no reference to this person, if they did exist, at all. So they weren’t just present at the birth but played a vital role in helping Mary deliver Jesus.
And then they slipped back into anonymity having being obedient by performing the role asked of them. Never to be mentioned.
These individuals are a great reminder in a culture that is so precious about being seen, and being prominent. In recent weeks, a lot of my time has been spent helping my parents go through a very tough time with their health. And there are times when I just want to tell people how much I’m doing and in effect, aren’t I wonderful.
The example of the shepherds and the midwife remind me that all that matters is God is watching. He knows all the things that I’m doing and that’s all that matters.
I’d encourage you to read the first two chapters of Luke in this week before Christmas, remind yourself of the story of Jesus birth, and be awestruck by its wonder and joy.
God is with us.
And He is coming, again.