Take This Cup: February 19th

by MARY POPE

Luke 2:1-21

Imagine you are shepherding in the quiet of night when an angel of the Lord appears without warning.  What fear the shepherds must have felt!  Talk about shock, and awe!

I can relate. On a recent camping trip with my daughter, in the quiet of the night, coyotes suddenly appeared right in front us!  At 5am, walking silently back from the bathhouse, my headlamp caught their gaze on us.  

But, unlike the shepherds, we were forewarned with two nights filled with eerie and foreboding howls on the ridge above us.  I can empathize with the shepherds, because while my daughter remained calm, I was overcome with unadulterated fear!  I would have much preferred a host of heavenly angels over a pack of coyotes! 

But, enough about fear, let’s talk about choice.

Have you ever wondered why God chose shepherds to receive the good news of Christ’s birth?  I do, and I love his choice.  In the day, shepherds were known as lowly, worthless social outcasts.  These were men marginalized by society – exactly the kind of sinners Jesus was born to save.  Sinners just like me and you.

But I love how God flips the script – to him they are guardians and protectors.  In his eyes, they held a much higher status.  After all, he himself is a shepherd – “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” John 10:11 

God didn’t choose wealthy citizens or powerful religious leaders.  He chose shepherds because he knew they would be blown away by the news and in turn gladly embrace the opportunity to share it.  To them, it would be a really big deal! 

When he calls you to spread his good news, how do you respond?