• Mount Tabor UMC

Devotional for November 29

If you had been assigned the task of conveying the news of Messiah’s arrival, how do you suppose you would have done it? In a cathedral with prominent religious leaders? In an auditorium with people who have the best social, economic, or political connections? Post an announcement on social media?

Messiah is here! Who would you tell first?

God chose shepherds to tell first. Chapter 2 of Luke’s Gospel gives the account:

8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. 9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! (NLT)

God chose shepherds, among the least in society at the time, to get the good news first. Those on the lowest rungs of religious, political, economic, and social ladders are told first that Messiah is here.

That doesn’t make much sense to our worldly minds tuned to worldly values. It turns our common knowledge and accepted practices upside down, like announcing Messiah’s arrival now to, say, migrant farm workers out in the fields gathering our food. That is not our way of doing things.

But that is God’s way, and that is why Jesus said he came. Many who are last will be first, and many who are first will be last. Blessed are the poor. Blessed are the hungry. Blessed are the grieving. Blessed are the humble. The least among us are the exalted ones in God’s Kingdom. Whatever we do to the least among us, we do to Messiah. The poor, the captives, the blind, and the oppressed, Messiah said, are his focus. Yes, that definitely is God’s way.

As we draw near to Christmas and as we celebrate Messiah’s birth, might we reflect on who got the news first? Might we ponder who Messiah said he came to reach and to save? And, might we listen for where each of us fits in God’s upside-down Kingdom where the least are the greatest and the last are first?

Prayer: Come, Messiah, you are welcome here. Help me not forget, Emmanuel, who heard the news first of your arrival and why you came. Instill your Spirit in me. Open my eyes to see where you are working to bring good news to the least among us, and show me how best to join you there. For the gift of your Presence, I am truly grateful. Amen.

Written by Bobby Sharp