On a trip to the country of Romania in 2019, we drove the windy roads between Brașov and Bucharest. Between villages, we saw shepherds living in the fields with their livestock, taking shelter under various trees or bushes. Even today, shepherding is a demanding, harsh livelihood.
Shepherds did not enjoy high social or economic status. These ordinary, hardworking people spent their nights sleeping between their animals and predators. They spent their days moving sheep to ideal grazing and drinking spots. They didn’t expect a visit from the hosts of angels that would make them the first to hear this birth announcement.
They become unexpected witnesses to God’s coming in Christ. If God saw fit to open the heavens and share the glorious news of Christ with them amid their everyday work, could God, would God, do something like that among us?
I ask myself this question more often than I used to. God, would you come to me today? Amid harsh and demanding circumstances? Even though I am nobody special, unworthy to be a laborer in God’s field? Despite my fixed understanding of the future and my place in the world? The answer, of course, is yes. What an immensely life-giving, hopeful idea. We learn from the shepherds that God comes to you and me in ways that change us forever. In the fields of your life, what a miracle to look up to the dark sky and see the good news of Emmanuel, God-with-us. Yes, even for you and me. Glory to God in the highest heaven!
What is one place in your heart, mind, or physical life into which you want to invite Christ today?
God, you come to us this day in breathtaking ways that we may not expect. Keep us watchful, expectant, and open to your wonder. Prompt us to praise and enliven us with your joy. Amen.