A Message from the Pastor
It was a silent night some 2,000 years ago. Being a shepherd could be a terribly lonely occupation. Not only that, but you were considered to be the lowest on the social ladder…in other words, don’t expect any invitations to the kings castle anytime soon.
And to top it off, you were poor. So suffice it to say, there weren’t a lot of people aspiring to be a shepherd on the hillsides of Bethlehem.
Silence…except perhaps the occasional sheep bahing in the distance.
Poor sheep…they had no idea. You see, the sheep being raised in these hills next to the little town of Bethlehem, were born and raised for one purpose…to be killed…to be sacrificed in the Temple…as a sign that blood must be shed to atone for sins…and as a precursor of what the Messiah would do…to be the sacrifice to end all sacrifices.
And then…the silence is broken by an angel from heaven appearing and declaring that just down the hill, in one of the mangers that the shepherds used for their animals, the Messiah, the Savior, the Lamb of God who would give his life for the world and our sake had been born.
Did you know that? That Jesus was born among the lambs distended to be sacrificed? No wonder the inn was full…God wanted His son to be born exactly where he was…among the sacrificial sheep and the shepherds, of which the Christ Child would become the greatest.
Then suddenly the first angel was accompanied by a host of angels singing praises to God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Peace, Shalom with God. Have you ever stopped to think what that means for you? It means that the hostility that existed between you and God because of your sins, has been removed.
Wow. The silence of that night had been broken…and how…and now the shepherds headed off to see this amazing thing that had happened.
But you know what? I’m guessing that along the way they discussed what kind of a gift they might present to the birthday child, especially one of such stature…a king, and not just any king, but the King of Kings. Of course, they were poor and couldn’t afford anything, yet, when they found Jesus, they presented him the greatest gift they could offer…their worship…just as we will do this month with our normal Sunday services, but also with our mid-week Advent worship on Wednesdays at 6:15 and our Christmas Eve and Day services.
Shepherds…like I said, no one actually wanted to be one, a life of thankless service, giving your life for the sake of the wandering, helpless sheep.
And that’s what makes the birth of Jesus so amazing, that he willingly left the glories of heaven in order to be a shepherd, who would willingly lay down his life for the wandering sheep that is all of us.
What can we possibly say to that? What can we do to repay him? What kind of a present can we present to the birthday child? The King of Kings?
All we can do is say…thank you Jesus; we love you, offer our worship and praise and say happy birthday.
Until next month….