All Are Welcome
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.”
One of my favorite aspects of the Christmas story is what it reveals about the heart of God. In many ways, the story is subversive and counterintuitive. I mean if I were God, I would have sent Jesus in a time where there were doctors with modern medical equipment. I would have wanted him to be born in an area abounding with wealth and made sure that He was born in an opulent and comfortable setting. I would have made a spectacle of inviting every dignitary and celebrity to usher in His coming. At least I would have made sure that the people I invited to visit Jesus had some social status or significance. After all we’re talking about a king here!
But not God- after locating the birth of his son in a humble stable in a small out of the way town called Bethlehem, he sends a choir of angels, possibly the greatest choir that anyone has ever heard, to announce the birth of His son to….shepherds. Shepherds: uneducated, uncouth, dirty and smelly, social outcasts. Think about it; he could have chosen to send the angels to anyone. Why would he choose shepherds? It almost seems like a waste of publicity. Surely a wandering prophet would have sufficed to accomplish the goal.
Now we know that God does not do anything by accident. Each action is carefully choreographed and full of purpose. Maybe God was trying to send a message that would reverberate through history. Maybe it’s a message of love meant to echo throughout time: “ALL are welcome here”. The gospel acted out in the advent of Jesus.
That God chose to announce with unparalleled extravagance to the outcasts of the day, gives an opportunity for hope to invade the lives of those who feel they are the most unworthy of today. It’s the story that reveals that when Jesus later said,” Come to me all you who are weary” He really meant “all”.
The gospel is for everyone. That means no matter who you are, or where you’re from, or what you’ve done you are invited to manger. His birth truly is the greatest gift the world has ever known. All are welcome here.