We can learn much from the “first responders” to the Incarnation: the shepherds in the field outside of Bethlehem.
God’s miraculous appearance in flesh…was a VERTICAL miracle. God Himself humbled Himself and came down to us…to be born as a human. He was clothed in our weakness and humanity so that He could save us from sin and death and raise us up to Himself!
One thing I love to ponder is how the Vertical miracle of Advent immediately was translated into a Horizontal response! Both of these aspects of Advent are important if lives are to be truly changed.
What was the extraordinary fact about the first responders?
NOTHING! There was nothing extraordinary about the shepherds. And this is what becomes so amazing! They were obscure, poor, illiterate, overlooked, unknown, nameless, faceless humans. They were NOT famous, powerful, influential, beautiful, rich, widely known, or important.
They were not from palaces of royalty or halls of government or institutions of higher learning or centers of finance or commerce. They did not control governments, businesses, economies, crowds, temples or synagogues. They simply watched over a few humble sheep…during the night shift. It is very likely that they were in sore need of a bath!
AND THAT’S WHAT BECOMES SO AMAZING…WHAT BECOMES INCREDIBLE GOOD NEWS. The Promised Savior, the Messiah, who is the Creator of the Universe and who upholds all things by the word of His power, He who is the fullness of the godhead in bodily form, the one whom the entire Bible and all human history points to: the first people outside of his Mother and Joseph, to be told of Him, to see Him, were these TOTALLY ORDINARY PEOPLE!
THE STAR OF THE STORY IS THE SON OF GOD…NOT THE FIRST RESPONDERS! The extraordinary thing is the Extraordinary One! The King for peasants, paupers…as well as kings. But He came to the stable so everyone would have ACCESS. If He came to the palace, only the privileged could reach Him. But in the stable even the poor can reach Him. Yes, the rich and the proud must humble themselves to come to the humble place and the humble Person.
Therefore, Jesus is an “Equal Opportunity Savior!” “Good news….which shall be for ALL the people”: must begin at the lowest point, the least common denominator! Even as later He went to the CROSS: to open the way FOR ANYONE to repent and receive forgiveness of sins!