While the New Year is here, I have one final reflection on this past Advent season. This year my attention returned again and again to the subject of Shepherds. Particularly the shepherds to which the angel came and proclaimed the birth of Christ.
At the time of Jesus’ birth shepherds were on one of lowest rungs of the social ladder. They were marginalized people. But as God tends to do, He came first to the shepherds and proclaimed the good news of his birth. This year I have a new appreciation and understanding of the Shepherds.
During this time Bethlehem was known for providing spotless lambs to the temple to be sacrificed. The shepherds here were specially trained to raise these spotless lambs for temple use. That was their job.
During lambing season the shepherds brought their sheep to give birth at Migdal Eder, “The Tower of the Flock.” After a spotless lamb had birthed, they would quickly wrap the spotless lamb in swaddling clothes and lay it in a manger until it settled down to protect it from becoming unusable for sacrifice, because if the lamb would have broken a bone or gotten bruised it would no longer be fit for sacrifice.
In (Luke 2) when the angel appeared to the shepherds, he said, “This will be a sign unto you, you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.” This sign would have had great significance for them. They had been wrapping “spotless lambs” and laying them in a manger for their entire lives.
There is also some speculation that the shepherds knew right where to go to find the baby Jesus because they had taken their sheep to Migdal Eder, the lower level of the tower of the flock, for the birth of their lambs.
God’s plans are perfect.
God chose the most marginalized people of that time to break the silence for centuries. He came and made Himself known to a group of people that would understand that He indeed was the spotless lamb sent to us as the final sacrifice for our sins.
As my 2016 came to a close and as I reflected on this amazing imagery, I could not help but be in awe of how the Lord shows himself to us. God proves himself to be the perfect storyteller.
I thought about our stories our testimonies.
God has revealed Himself to every one of us who call ourselves Christian. Just like He gave those shepherds the perfect sign so that they would understand, He has done this in a perfect way for us to see as well. He leads us through trials and tribulations to grow and to teach us so that we can tell others. He wrote each of our stories as magnificently as those shepherds so many centuries ago.
Every believer has a testimony to share. No matter where you have been or what you have done. If the Lord has redeemed you, then you also have a story to tell. He doesn’t call the qualified; He qualifies the called.
God entrusted the most joyous and life-giving news ever told for the shepherds to proclaim, and He does the same for us. We have the opportunity, no the privilege, to share what the Lord has done. We can help give hope to those hurting and life to those dying.
Our stories were given to us by God to give Him glory for saving us. They are reminders of where we have been and where we are going. They breathe encouragement into our souls if we have forgotten the truth.
This New Year, I hope you are encouraged to go out and do the same. If you haven’t already listened to theOppermom Podcast, I invite you to do so. We have started a series of ordinary everyday people sharing what big things God has done to save and grow each one of them.
Let me ask you, “Who are you going to share your story with this week?”