The Common and the Elite—An Advent Meditation
I’m so glad it’s Advent season so I can write about a wonderful discovery a friend and I made about the Christmas story. We were listening to a slightly off-beat analysis of that great event. The narrator described the shepherds as the common laborers of their time. He said that in those days, if you couldn’t make it at anything else, you could always be a shepherd.
As the narrator talked about the shepherds I chuckled. Then I was struck by a new thought about those chosen to receive the first news of the Messiah’s birth. How they must have clutched the ground in fear as they were were awakened from sleep, or were interrupted by the angelic host during some casual late night conversation. Did those shepherds tell everyone about the angels they had seen before they set out to find the Christ child? If they did, maybe they were looked upon as fools, because from the Scripture account I don’t see that anyone came with them to see the Baby.
I can imagine the reaction had they tried to tell anyone. Oh, you saw angels? Sure you did! How much wine did you drink before you saw them?” So if the shepherds did tell as they went, probably no one believed them.
Then the intellectuals made the discovery. The wise men had seen the star in the east and had come to investigate. Everyone, even the king, listened to their story and asked them to come back with news once they had it straight. The intellectuals were respected.
Isn’t it just like God to use opposite ends of the social structure to make such a major announcement? Most of us today are like people were then. When someone important says something, we want to know more. Yet when someone who lives on the other side of the tracks or doesn’t meet our standards of success claims to have made a discovery, we often tend not to believe it.
But God is not a respecter of persons. His ways are not our ways. He chose to send the mighty Savior into the world as a helpless infant, and He chose to bring the news first to lowly shepherds!
Editor’s Note: This article was taken from a collection of Lois Link’s writings called “Psalms from a Sparrow.” After nearly eight years of faithful service at San Francisco administrative headquarters, Lois has returned to her native South Dakota. We will miss her, but we know that she will continue to be a faithful servant of Christ wherever He leads her, and a blessing to those around her.