Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Angels and Shepherds

I was struck this Christmas by the story of the angels appearing to the shepherds outside of Bethlehem. Luke 2:1-14 was where I lived the week before Christmas in preparation for the my 12/24 sermon. The contrast between Caesar's desire to bask in the glory of his reign by taking a census with the angels appearing to the shepherds really hit me this year. I have thought of the contrast before, but it has usually been a good point to build into the sermon. This year was different. The fact that God chose to announce the birth of the real King to shepherds shows God's value system. YHWH went to the simple and lowly shepherds -- not to Caesar!

One cannot serve the King of kings without valuing, embracing and serving the least of these. This is an ironclad law of the Kingdom of God.

By going to the shepherds, God teaches all of us that we are poor. Even if we have our material needs met, before him we are poverty stricken. By reaching out to those who could do nothing in return, God showed himself to be a God of grace. All of us are needy. All of us are poor. All of us are lowly. Until we value this posture the way God values it, we will never see the Kingdom of God.

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