Lowly Shepherds

Chalk it up to an interruption. God tapped humanity on its collective shoulder. "Pardon me," he said, and eternity interrupted time, divinity interrupted carnality, and heaven interrupted the earth in the form of a baby. Christianity was born in one big heavenly interruption.Just ask the Bethlehem shepherds. We know so little about these men. Their names? Their ages? How many were on duty that night? We don't know. But this much we can safely assumer: They had no expectations of excitement. These are sheep they are watching. "That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep." We count sheep to go to sleep! Besides, this is the night shift. Might as well watch paint dry. Shepherds watching sheep sleep? Saying that sentence is more exciting than doing their job. Their greatest challenge was staying awake! These men expected no excitement. Nor did they want any. Any excitement was bad excitement--wolves, mountain lions, poachers. Shepherds treasured the predictable. They coveted the calm. Their singular aim was to be able to tell their wives, "Nothing happened last night." Just because they wanted a calm night, however, didn't mean they would get it. And, forgive the reminder: Just because you want a calm life, don't bank on having it. The minute you sink down in the easy chair of life, heaven pushes the remote and changes the channel: -The financial aid office says, "no" -A doctor say, "pregnant" -The boss says, "transfer" -The test grade reads, "F" -The auto mechanic says, "totaled" -The auto insurance says, "expired" "I am the one who creates the light and makes the darkness. I am the one who sends good times and bad times. I, the LORD, am the one who does these things." And our typical initial response is the same as that of the shepherds. Fear. "Then an angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and they became very frightened." Change always brings fear before it brings faith. We always assume the worst before we look for the best. God interrupts our lives with something we've never seen, and rather than praise, we panic! We interpret the presence of a problem as the absence of God and scoot! Good thing the shepherds lingered. Otherwise they might have missed the second verse. "Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord." I hope you'll do what the shepherds did--linger near the manger. A lot has changed in the world since then. But though much has changed, the big stuff remained the same. The biggest news is still the best news . . . Christ entered our world. As a result, we can enter his.

excerpt from "God Came Near" by Max Lucado