Saturday Spotlight: Shepherds – 1st Week of Advent

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In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them…and said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day…a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”  Luke 2: 8-11

 

Why did the angel announce Jesus’ birth to shepherds?

 

Maybe because Jesus was born in a stable, and the likes of shepherds, who spent most of their time with animals, fit right in.

 

Maybe because Jesus would later identify himself as “the Good Shepherd” and his own would recognize him most easily.

 

Or maybe because Jesus was the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world, making shepherds the most appropriate welcoming committee.

 

It could have been any number of reasons, but I think—at least in part—it was because shepherds have a lot of time on their hands. We’re told they were out in the open fields, keeping watch. They were watching in case of danger to their sheep, but the act of watching means openness to observe anything that might happen—especially something out of the ordinary.

 

What if the angel’s announcement would have been observable to anyone receptive to it, but the only ones who noticed were the shepherds? Granted, they had an advantage. There probably wasn’t a lot else going on in the fields for them to see. It would have been more challenging for townspeople to notice the angel’s message—especially with the hubbub of the crowded city streets due to the census.

 

Like the townspeople, we may have many demands our attention during this hectic holiday season. We may not have the luxury of a work schedule that builds in plenty of down time. That’s why we owe it to ourselves to carve out some time—even if just for a few moments each day—to be still and listen to any message God might want to give our hearts. We don’t want to miss any good news.

 

Prayer:  Lord, quiet my mind and heart and help me watch for you.

 

Reflection:  How will you give yourself the gift of quiet during this Advent season?

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Meditations

But Jesus answered “The scripture says, ‘Human beings cannot live on bread alone, but need every word that God speaks.’” (Matthew 4:4)

 

All Bible quotes are from the Good News Translation unless otherwise noted.

 

It is reassuring that Jesus called fishermen and tax collectors to be his followers. These were laymen, not Scripture experts. It is wise to seek guidance from religious scholars and clergy who have studied Scripture to avoid errors in interpretation. But the Bible is also a gift given to each of us, to use as a basis for prayer and meditation.

 

I’m not a Biblical scholar; I’m an expert only on my own experience. Following the Scripture passage is a brief meditation along with a question or two as a springboard for your own reflections. Please feel free to share your own thoughts or insights on the passage by adding a comment. All comments are moderated, so please allow some time for your comment to be posted.

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