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Advent Reflection Week 4: Shepherds

Have you ever found yourself going about your daily life only to have someone jump out and scream boo!!!? Personally, I love hiding behind doors to scare my kids and watching them jump, and they, in turn, love trying to sneak up on me. These times often result in great joy as laughter can be heard throughout the house if we embrace the joy and fun as opposed to getting mad at the person who leapt out of nowhere!

These fun games we play pale into insignificance when compared with the fright the shepherds must have had that night so many years ago when the angel popped out of nowhere and lit up the sky. At that point, the shepherd had a choice to make. Should they embrace the experience and seek the manger, or stay with the safety of their sheep? In a time long before electricity, when the night was dark, lit only by stars in the sky and possibly a fire to keep warm, the Shepherds would have been startled into full attention and fear by the sudden appearance of the angel and the glory of God. To them, it was a normal night, the same as every other night, watching the sheep, keeping an eye out for thieves, be they human or animal, coming to take a sheep. They were not expecting anything other than the usual.

Understandably, the Shepherds reacted in fear, but the angel told them not to be afraid. The Angels proceeded to share some amazing news with them as if they weren’t already amazed! Shepherds of that time were very poor and considered some of the lowest class people in their society, and yet God chose them. He chose them to be first. First to hear of the birth of Jesus. The first visitors to see this new Messiah. Because of their job, they were considered unclean and couldn’t take part in religious ceremonies and yet God chose them. What joy they experienced. When the Shepherds heard the news, they made a choice. What would you have done? Are you brave and bold, and follow when God surprises you? Would you be willing to leave it all and seek after Jesus, the joy for all people? Are you willing to lean in and explore God and see how life could change as a result?

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