It is lectionary year A, and this year we hear the story of the great mystery of Christmas from the gospel of Luke. The author of Luke continues to speak to the themes of God coming for the common man beginning here with the birth of Jesus. Luke calls Jesus, a little baby born in a little town, the Son of God, the Prince of Peace. Living 2,000 years after this event, we aren’t aware that Cesar Augustus – the nephew of Julius Caesar ended the warring that happened after he became the Emperor. He was then called the Prince of Peace and declared a Son of God – even named such on the official roman currency. Therefore Luke places the birth of Christ in an area of political unrest and sets him up against the most powerful man of the day.
Then, the author of Luke brings in shepherds…
Who are the shepherds of our day? Who are those who live and work outside of the rest of the community, yet providing necessary resources? Are these the ordinary people? The “Real People of Bethlehem?”, is Luke trying to tell us that this king – this little baby – will be for the every man? Or is these shepherds the marginalized? Those we prefer to keep at an arms distance so that we won’t be uncomfortable with who they are and how they live?
In Godly Play, we talk about the 2 great mysteries – Christmas and Easter. God came to be with us, and God rose from the dead. We will never know exactly how the incarnation or the resurrection happened (which shouldn’t stop us from wondering and asking questions!!), however we do know that in both great mysteries God reveals the deep love our creator has for us – for all of us.
God didn’t come to dwell in the great palaces of the day, but in the fields and villages. This is good news. God came to live with you, with me, with us.
How can we be the shepherds of today – and declare to all those around us why this is good news for us? Now I know… I’m not that kind of Christian who jumps at any chance to tell people about my faith. Yet, “we are called to confess not to convert” – Kenda Creasy Dean.
Confess this day to yourself, your loved ones, your friends, and anyone – why this news, this king, this prince of peace, this God with us, is good news for you.