Into this ordinary world
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
- Luke 2:8-9
Being a shepherd was a lame job. The work was at times boring (counting sheep for a living) and at times dangerous (in the wilderness with bandits and lions and bears … oh my). Shepherds weren’t respected. Shepherds weren’t paid well. Their testimony wasn’t even admissible in court.
The day the angels appeared to the shepherds would have been like any other day. Utterly ordinary. And the shepherds were ordinary men. Unremarkable. We don’t even know their names.
And yet, into this ordinary world, flashes of glory appear. Angels announced and sang about the birth of a king. The shepherds were terrified and then inspired. They left their sheep behind to find the one who was born this day in the town of David.
While the shepherds heard about the arrival of Jesus, no one else seemed to notice. The local government hadn’t heard about it. The religious elite missed it. Caesar heard not a word.
If Jesus had been born in Rome, in the palace of Caesar, the entire Roman world would have known in short order. Word would have passed quickly from Caesar to the shepherds. Word always passes quickly from the center to the margins.
Yet God delights to work from the margins to the center. He uses the poor to challenge the rich, the weak to strengthen the strong, and the outsiders to wake the complacent. The centers of power are not the only sources of change. God’s incredible movement will often end up swimming upstream--from the margins to the center.
And it starts with ordinary shepherds on an ordinary night, a divine interruption for our good.
What does it mean to receive this week’s holiday interruption as God coming to meet you in the midst of your life and not just as a day off of work?