And the Word became flesh...
The birth of the Son of God was heralded by the angel of the Lord, accompanied by the shekinah, the glory of God, and was followed by a multitude of the heavenly host singing praises. And for whose benefit was this magnificent display? Kings? Presidents? Politicians? Religious leaders?
No, it was all for a few lowly shepherds – humble, poor, obscure and unnamed rustics of whom nothing more is heard in Scripture thereafter.
While today’s puffed-up prelates court the wealthy, famous and influential, so today’s wealthy, famous and influential seek out the private chapels and grand palaces of these prelates as the perfect stage for their displays of religiosity. But not these shepherds. No, the Lord deemed them worthy because they were lowly. They were not body-beautiful celebrities, gifted communicators, powerful decision makers or authoritative opinion formers; they were simply ordinary men, and the Lord chose them to be among the first to know that the Christ was born; that the Messiah had entered history; that the Son of God had come to redeem mankind - Immanuel.
As some reflect today on the Prime Minister's Christmas message (full text here), it is a relief to know that one day the Government will be upon His shoulder. The real deliverer and the real fulfilment of the needs of humanity is human, one of us, flesh of our flesh. He is born to rule, born to be a king, conceived of the house and lineage of David. His name is Wonderful – a mystery of divinity in humanity; Counsellor – the oracle of wisdom; the mighty God – the Word was not just with God, but was God; the Everlasting Father – not the same person as the Father, but of one substance with the Father; the Prince of Peace – bringing a peace that passes understanding.
His Grace wishes all of his regular communicants, all of his intermittent guests, and all of his occasional readers, a joyful and peaceful Christmas.