Advent Reading for Today: December 19
17Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. 18And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
Shepherds. Day and night, watching sheep, feeding sheep, protecting sheep, guiding sheep, and otherwise doing whatever else the care of sheep calls for. Not exactly what one would call a “glorious” job. This was just the case with the shepherds in the field at Bethlehem, as they “watched their flocks by night.” They did not hold high positions in the local city government. They were not religious leaders to whom people looked for theological answers or spiritual direction. They were not the intellectuals of the day, seeking to spearhead cultural change. They were just plain, ordinary sheep-herders, doing their jobs on a typical “winter’s” night.
Yet, despite all their relative unimportance to the rest of the world, it was these humble shepherds whom God chose for the incredible honor of being the first men not only to see the miracle of God come in the flesh but to announce it to the world as well. In the same way, God chose the humble maiden Mary to carry His Son in her womb. Just a simple “peasant” girl, yet the Bible says she is to be honored above all women.
As He often does, God exalted the simple and humble to be the first among men to know and proclaim the great coming of Christ our Savior. This is a wonderful thing. And if God used at the outset simple shepherds and maidens to bring the gospel into the world, He surely can use you and me as well in building the kingdom of God today.
—Pastor Bill Izard, Grace Covenant Church, Texarkana, Arkansas
Great God in heaven above, we give You thanks for Your own Son who took on the flesh of a newborn baby in order to save the world of men. We give You thanks for Your choosing the weak and the lowly to be a vibrant witness to the waiting world. Thank You for the shepherds who first “preached” the gospel that has now come to us. Thank You for humble Mary who carried God-Become-Man in her womb. Now hear our prayer: Make us faithful bearers of the Gospel ourselves, weak and helpless as we are. Fill our hearts with the joy of the shepherds, our minds with the ponderings of Mary, and loose our tongues to sing Your praises for the wonderful thing You have done in sending Your Son to be our Savior, in whose name we pray, AMEN.
Even the smallest child or the quietest family can help spread the good news of Christ’s coming to save the world by celebrating His birth loudly, proudly, and publicly. Plan with your family to carol in the neighborhood or at a local nursing home, throw a party, give gifts to others, etc.; and brainstorm other ways both to celebrate and spread the gospel this Christmas season.