It was an exceptional night. Bethlehem lay quiet and deserted after the rush and business of the preceding day. Local shepherds were walking the streets of Bethlehem. They were looking for the newborn Messiah. A brilliant star seemed to be transfixed on a certain location – a barn …. They opened the barn door, and there was the baby! He was in a manger, soundly asleep, just as the angels had told them.
Mary and Joseph looked surprised when the shepherds entered the room. After introducing themselves they related to the stunned couple what the angels had said. Mary hung on every word of their story and treasured up everything they said; to her it must have felt like puzzle pieces falling into place. Hearing the good news from strangers made it all the more real.
Imagine an angel has a message for you. This angel tells you that God wants you to become parents to His Son and asks for your permission to adopt Jesus into your family. Can you picture the skepticism of your friends and neighbors? I am assuming that Mary and Joseph went through that, which is why it was so important for them to meet the shepherds. Faith is not meant to be lived out alone. We need each other to be strong. In this respect the shepherds played an important role in the chain of events. When they shared their story Mary and Joseph’s their faith was strengthened.
God continues to choose people for His purposes, and sometimes we have a hard time believing in God’s choices. However, if we think we need to be perfect to be chosen by God we are completely missing the point. It is God who makes things perfect. And He is the One who perfects us while we follow His call.
Isn’t it wonderful that God invites us to play a role in His story? And by using regular human beings for His divine purposes on a star-filled night, God has made us part of the miracle of Christmas.