Do You Like To Receive Gifts?
“Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking turns watching their flock during the night. An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them. The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified. The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy. Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David’s city. This is how you will recognize him: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12)
Yes, we’ve been talking about fear and being afraid and here we go again reading how the Shepherds were scared when their landscape became bright in the middle of the night with the lights from the glory of God surrounding the angels to came to tell those stinky, dirty guys the good news of the arrival of our Savior!
But today let’s not focus on fear but instead let’s contemplate at the GIFT that was given to the shepherds and us! Just last week a friend taught me, “the reason the shepherds were in the fields were because they couldn’t go and sacramentally cleanse themselves because they were on job duty 24/7. They were considered renegades or outcasts.” Shepherds were the lowest group in their society and considered “ceremonially unclean”, therefore not able to go into the temple to worship God.
So, no wonder they were surprised that angels would come and visit them! Much less, that they would’ve been taken back so much that they didn’t care what other people thought about how much they smelled bad or were “unclean”…they wanted to see this baby who’s their Savior! What a gift! Especially since they’re not used to be given gifts.
Dallas Willard writes in “Life Without Lack” that “God loves to give. God loves to forgive. God loves to just gush forth with his goodness. Nothing so delights him as giving to anyone and everyone who will receive.” (p. 23)
And those shepherds received the gift that night of being the first eyewitnesses of the new, baby Jesus. The new, baby Savior. The new, baby Good Shepherd that he’ll grow older to become.
Thank you God, for delighting to give us gifts…the ultimate gift of your Son Jesus, so was, is and will always be our Savior. Thank you for loving to give us goodness, give us forgiveness, give us grace, and give us joy, peace, hope and love. Help us to receive those gifts of yours. Please forgive me of the many times I’ve turned down the gifts you’ve specifically given to me that I didn’t feel worthy to receive or was too busy to open the gift. Lord, I want to loosen the grip of my fist to have open hands to receive the gift of Your presence and whatever else You delight in giving me. Amen