In just about every country, Christmas is recognized in some way. People all over are hanging lights, buying gifts, and singing jolly little songs. Parties and dinners are springing up everywhere, including all kinds of people. If they’ve really got connections, they could be at a different party every week. Social butterflies love this season!
Only a few select people were included in the first Christmas party, however. As important as the event was, we would expect it to be held at a glitzy country club with thousands invited. But it wasn’t. In fact, the invitation was more like, “Come join us at Bethlehem’s most reclusive stable. Hay will be provided . . .” The only “glitzy” thing about it was the system of delivery in the middle of the night: a host of shining, caroling angels.
I’m sure the recipients of this invitation were not expecting this it all. They were forgotten shepherds in the backwoods, minding their own business while minding their sheep. But God didn’t seem to mind their occupation or lack of social glamour. He joyfully gave them directions to the birth place of His baby boy. Someone had to know! (Luke 2:7-18)
Of course, like any proud parent, God couldn’t keep the good news to shepherds alone. When Mary and Joseph went to Jerusalem to consecrate Jesus to the Lord, they were met by Simeon and Anna. These two Godly people didn’t get the pleasure of hearing Jesus’ birth announcement through the resounding voices of angels. But the clear voice of the Holy Spirit in their hearts was enough. Their savior had been born! (Luke 2:21-38)
But what about all the religious leaders like the High Priest, Pharisees, and Sadducees? Surely, as spiritual as they were, they would have been in on the invitation. They had spent their whole lives declaring that Israel’s Messiah would come one day. Why no announcement to them?
This reminds me of I Corinthians 1:27 – 29:
But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.
For something as great as the arrival of a nation’s long-awaited Messiah, the religious leaders expected something more glamorous than a stable birth. They expected pomp, power, and prestige. But their hearts were so full of pride that they would have scorned such a humble arrival. If their ugly hearts rejected Jesus performing miracles as an adult, how could they be expected to joyfully receive Him as an infant?
Just like we want people to rejoice over our good news, God wants us to celebrate His greatest show of love to us. His challenge is to find people who will appreciate it. He chose to invite humble shepherds to the celebration because no pride was found that said they were too good for the stable. They recognized the miracle of it all and weren’t afraid to tell others. God also revealed His promise to two faithful elderly people who had waited expectantly for years for His arrival. Their hearts were pure before God. They didn’t care who knew that they had seen the Child. They were satisfied in knowing that God had fulfilled His Word.
I admire the shepherds, Simeon, and Anna who weren’t too proud to see God’s glory in the “base” things of the world. They understood that God could work His miracles in whatever way He pleased. If we had hearts like theirs, to what kind of miracle party would He invite us?