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There are no Advent midweek worship services this year (2020).
Pastor Lara is providing weekly devotional reflections. It is our prayer that these reflections bring you a sense of hope and peace.
December 23, 2020
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
In these weekly Advent reflections, we’ve heard the stories of Zechariah, Joseph, and Mary. All people who are part of Jesus’ lineage. But as this season winds down and we look ahead to the night Jesus was born, we hear the story of the shepherds.
There are shepherds in Jesus’ lineage, too: Abel, Laban, Esau, Jacob and, of course, King David – just to name a few. When we hear their stories it’s easy to imagine that shepherds were valuable people and looked-up-to – and some of them were. But the truth is, most shepherds were considered outcasts – and that was on a good day. The work they did was valuable, it needed to be done. But on the whole, it was done by “other people.”
And yet, on the night Jesus was born, the only invitation given to go and see what had happened was given to a group of shepherds. Not only that, they were also given the most incredible concert in all of heaven – one that was given only for them. And as they returned from the manger, they glorified and praised God for all they’d heard and seen.
When we think of the people today who are considered to be outcasts, we don’t tend to think of them as glorifying and praising God. If we’re honest, we don’t tend to think of them at all. We look the other way and pretend to not see them – and hope that they don’t see us ignoring them.
But even if we don’t see them, God does. And God sees them as God made them – as beloved simply because God made them. It’s the same way God sees you. With everything going on this year, it’s easy to forget that and to lose yourself in the chaos.
In the coming days, I invite you to see yourself as God sees you. To remember that you are loved by God, simply because God made you.
Please pray with me: God of life, help us to remember and to trust your love for us. Amen.