Good news for ALL people

Prophets of old gave many prophecies concerning the Messiah.  The Jewish people longed for their Savior to come but many missed his coming because he didn’t fit their preconceived notions.  By the time the Messiah came, Israel was under the control of the Roman Empire so many were looking for a military leader to free them.  Others were looking for a king like the kings they were familiar with- living in a palace with a silver spoon in his mouth.  But God’s plans do not fit very well into man’s preconceived ideas.  God has his own unique way of doing things.  Jesus wasn’t born in the capital city of Jerusalem but in the small town of Bethlehem.  He wasn’t born in a finely decorated room but in a stable- laid in a manger, a feed trough really, instead of a fine cradle.  He wasn’t born to wealthy, affluent parents but to a poor carpenter and his wife.  Birth announcements weren’t mailed out to the Jewish Who’s Who list.  Instead angels proclaimed his birth to poor, lowly shepherds out doing their duty late at night.
Why?  Because God was about to do something new through this child.  This child would grow up and turn religion on its ear.  He would eat with sinners and tax collectors and call the religious leaders a “brood of vipers”.  He wouldn’t seek his own glory and advancement but in humility would show us to put others first- teaching us to love our God and our neighbors above ourselves.  He would die a most cruel death for crimes he never committed.  He would rise again and thus make a way to save the whole world.  And it all started with the birth announcement to the lowly shepherds.  He didn’t come to the rich, the powerful or the religious- he came for all.  The angel proclaimed-
“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL people.”  Luke 2:10. 
Before his first night on earth was over, the wheels had been set in motion to reach ALL!  I just love the response of the shepherds after the angels left.
“So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby” v16
Then after their encounter-
“They spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.” V17
 The shepherds can teach us many things about responding to the good news and spreading the word around.  But they also remind us to reach out to those who are in need, the lowest of society, the outcasts- those are the ones Jesus reached out to the most.  He spent time with and reached out to the beggars, sinners, tax collectors and lepers.  Too often we sit in our fine homes and go worship in our fine churches and drive past homes where children are hungry or maybe living in fear.  We pass families struggling to make ends meet.  We pass people struggling with addictions, people longing for a job, people who have lost hope in life.  This season and all year round really, let us remember who first received word of the Messiah’s birth.  God wants us to reach out and love ALL people- it’s what Jesus showed us by the example he set while on this earth. 
Thank you, Lord, for this reminder and lesson from the shepherds.  Help me to be more Christ-like in my thoughts, words, and actions.  I want to see ALL people come to know you!

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