The Christmas season is over; the ornaments, garland, and lights have been packed up for another year. While this is the case there is one thing that keeps coming to mind over the past month about the Christmas story.
In the Christmas story of course we have Mary and Jospeh, we have the angels, yet we also have the shepherds and if you include the extended version of the Christmas story the wise men (magi) show up sometime before the Christ child celebrated His 2nd birthday (Matthew 2:16). Let’s talk about these wisemen and the shepherds for a moment.
When we think of the shepherds, at least I think of the cute little kid in the church nativity play where he comes in dressed in a bathrobe, some sort of head dress, with a little shepherds crook. These plays depict the shepherds as innocent and honest. These plays also depict the shepherds as part of cultural society. This is far from reality. Shepherds were considered social outcast. They were dirty and dingy from spending so much time in the fields with the flock, they were rude and crude, and they were considered dishonest thieves if given a partial opportunity. This is not exactly the picture we get from the church Christmas play.
The wisemen and shepherd come from completely different backgrounds. One could easily say they come from the two ends of the spectrum of society. They are polar opposites of one another and couldn’t have been anymore different. Yet they are both part of the wonderful Christmas story. We see both have their special place in Scripture.
The invitation to be part of this story wasn’t delivered by mistake. The story is very intentional in who filled the verses so there is no accident in this story. With this being the case what does it mean for these two really different groups to be part of the same story?
You see the reality is Christmas is for everyone! More to the point the Christ child is for everyone! Some would have the misgivings that Christ was for a particular group or groups and NOT for a particular group or groups. This is simply not the case. Christ came for those that could barely make ends meet financially and for those that could give extravagant gifts like gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matthew 2:11). Christ came for those that were part of the fabric of society and culture, and He came for those that are on the edges of society and culture. Jesus came for all and is for all.
It reminds me of the children’s song that says, “Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red, brown, yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
My friend, what an amazing truth that Jesus came for all and is for all. More to the point, Jesus came for you and is for you. It doesn’t matter your socioeconomic status or your position in society or how people may look at you, Jesus came for you and is for you.
No matter who you are or where you are, Jesus came that first Christmas day as the greatest Christmas gift ever. The ever popular John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (NIV, emphasis mine).”