The angel said to the shepherds, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a savior, which is Christ the Lord.” And with that announcement, the son of God came into our world.
Can you imagine the emotions of those shepherds? They were not exactly from the right side of the tracks. They were not amongst the elite in society. In fact, shepherds often were men who could not find other work. This was their final option for meeting the needs of their families. It was hard, intense and dirty work. Someone had to do it, but hardly anyone aspired to be a shepherd.
And yet, it was to the shepherds that God first announced the birth of his son. Isn’t that just like the Lord? Paul wrote to the Christians in the city of Corinth, “God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.”
The fact is that God always has chosen and used the underdogs. Joseph was the 11th of 12 sons. He was sold into slavery and spent time in prison. But God used him to save a nation.
Gideon was not a natural leader of men. Against his own wishes, he finally committed to lead the army of God. When he recruited an adequate number of soldiers, God made him send most of them home. With a rag-tag group of 300 men — armed with trumpets, pitchers and lamps —Gideon won a great victory for the Lord.
And even Jesus entered the world in a completely unexpected manner. Taking the form of a baby, he was born in the city of Bethlehem, neglected and ignored by most. And yet he was the son of God, the savior of the world.
I am so grateful to the Lord of using the weak things of the world to defeat that which seems strong. I am so thankful that he continues to use men, women, boys and girls whose only qualification is that they are committed to him. I like the idea that I have heard expressions like this: “God does not call the qualified. He qualifies the called.” That means that you and I can be used by him to accomplish his purposes in this world.
At Christmastime, we remember what God did, starting in a small way, to save the world. Jesus came to us. He lived with us. Those who were there did not realize the significance of all that he did. But we can see from a different perspective. And we honor and worship the one born in Bethlehem, for we know that he is our savior.
Keep the Lord at the center of all of your holiday celebrations. He is what Christmas is all about.