The Gift the Shepherds Shared

Luke 2:8-20

Adam, a bright-eyed 3-year-old, had been told of his German heritage. After church in early December, he was asked if he had a part in the Sunday school Christmas pageant.  “Yes,” he replied, his eyes filling with joy. “I am going to be a German shepherd!”  (Eileen R. Halstead, Marlboro, N.Y. “Kids of the Kingdom,” Christian Reader.)

Think about the job of these shepherds in the Christmas story for just a moment:  It is a bummer having to work the late shift.  The rest of the world seems to flow at a 9-5 hum… and here you are punching the clock while most are sawing logs.  Add to the grave yard shift the fact that these shepherds were the bottom of the Judean social ladder and you have here a group of blue collar workers whose station in life was:  Subterranean.  Whose outlook was:  Jaded.  Whose futures were: bleak.

And then something happens to them that no one would believe.  Angels… honest to goodness angels… tapped their motley crew to proclaim the birth of Messiah… Christ the Lord.  Now the gift the shepherds shared that night… and beyond… was their story.  

This was not without difficulty in the sharing.  For their audience had to weigh in their minds, upon the hearing, as to whether this was the tale of a group of drunken lowlifes or the Gospel truth.  I’m sure their story caused their skeptical buddies to razz them mercilessly.

          And yet… they each could not stop telling the story… their story… of how heaven touched their very plain lives and filled them with glory. 

17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  Amazement is the response the shepherd received when they shared.  Not the reaction one might expect.  There is no hiding the passion of men and women touched by God.  People can debate your doctrine but they can’t explain your transformation.  These shepherds were now different and people took notice.

This is the season to Share His Story… To Share Your Story… because people are looking for something real.  Many people are disillusioned with the whole Christmas machine.  Decorations for sale before Halloween, songs about snow sung hour after hour, endless to-do lists… and for what… for most people it is for the proclamation of the coming calendar date.  The 25th looms large as a day we dread more than cherish.  Just tell someone “It’s 4 days to Christmas!”  And you are libel to hear “I know, I’m not ready.” (with just a bit of panic in the voice) instead of “I know, isn’t it wonderful.” 

          Falling in love with the Jesus of the story is critical to transforming your Christmas.  Your friend, family member, co-worker… they need more than a sweater or a fruitcake.  They need to hear the words of life that only you can share with them.  Remember your Christmas before Jesus; think about what Christmas means to you now that you are his child…  and then… give your story away.

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