Advent: Day Twenty-One
And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people...”—Luke 2:6-10
The wisdom of God is both bizarre and beautiful.
Out of an overflow of His great love for the world, God decides to enter into human history to rescue and redeem us. But when He enters into human history, He doesn’t crack the sky in the form of a King and put on display all of His glory, power, and authority. He doesn’t show up in a powerful city, such as Rome, where culture was being developed and created. He doesn’t even decide to visit the kings and queens of this earth and announce to them His arrival. Instead, God decides to make a different type of proclamation.
Rather than announcing His arrival to kings and queens, God sent an angel in a literal blaze of glory to a group of rag-tag shepherds out in a field. In our modern Nativity sets, we’ve made the shepherds cute. We’ve turned them into religious symbols. But these guys were rough, unclean, and unwelcome in the temple. In their society, these men were on the fringe. Yet, God chose to announce the birth of Jesus to these men, and He allowed them to be the first to come and worship Christ.
God also caused a star to lead a group of wise men to greet Jesus in Bethlehem. They were not the adorable three kings we’ve mainstreamed for ourselves. These men were pagan sorcerers, probably from Babylon. They worshipped the sun, moon, and stars. God, in His mercy, interrupted their idolatrous worship and drew them into Bethlehem that they might see the one true God and worship at his feet.
The wisdom of God is, indeed, bizarre and beautiful.
The way God chose to enter into our world proclaims something breathtakingly glorious about Him! By now, we must all recognize God’s theme—He loves the most unexpected people who happen to be in the most unlikely of places. The proclamation of the birth of Jesus is that God is deeply in love with the poor, the hurting, the broken, the sinful, the rejected, and the ones on the fringe of society. And it also proclaims that not one of us is too wise, too good, for the love of God to reach us. Unto us a Savior has been born. Go to Him. He will receive you like He received the shepherds and the Magi in Bethlehem.
Meditation: The birth of Jesus is God’s proclamation to you that He loves you. The birth of Jesus proclaims that He entered into our world for every person in every station of life. It proclaims that, if God loves people with such a bizarre and beautiful love, how could we not also love them as He does? Meditate on the love of God for every single person.
Prayer: Jesus, thank you for your love. Thank you for coming for people who struggle as I struggle. Just as you did not overlook the shepherds in their distant field or the wise men in their idolatry, you have not overlooked me because of my brokenness. Help me learn to come to you just as I am with joy and delight. As I celebrate the birth of Jesus, Your most gracious and necessary gift of love to the world, give me the grace I need to love people the way you love them. Amen.