Focal passage: Luke 2:4-12, 16-20
I used to be too good for Hallmark Christmas movies. Always a wayward woman, who’s somehow lost sight of what truly matters in life, stranded in a small, cozy town with plenty of snow and a very handsome man. She meets quirky neighbors along the way – including that very handsome man she wants nothing to do with at first – who help her remember the warmth of good friends and family. The Hallmark Heroine always gets her happy ending: love, friends, a new life, a good life.
Luke’s account of the birth of Christ is probably pretty familiar to you. Every year I seem to read over the verses. Some years I’ve planned to and others it just seemed to happen. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. I love that you can read the Word of God a thousand times and hear God speak through every verse. While Joseph and Mary were either preparing for labor or already holding the Son of God in their arms, there were others in the same region that God had plans for. We don’t know anything about the shepherds. There are no qualifications given to explain their inclusion. No scripture quoted to cross-reference or family history to set them apart for such a spiritual honor. They weren’t even praying. They were simply going about their lives, keeping watch over their sheep at night, and God in his tender care included them.
The older I get, the more I appreciate the happy endings, especially for the seemingly least deserving Hallmark Heroines. Good, I think, when I see the snow fall and her smile, surrounded by loved ones and quietly reborn. Good. This is good.
I don’t know what your 2021 looked like. Maybe it was a Hallmark year and maybe it wasn’t. Either way, hear the word of the Lord: Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people…even those out in the fields at night.
Jesus. His name is Jesus.