by Christopher Harbin

This content is part of a series.

Wonder to Ponder (6 of 52)
Series: Discipleship Part 2
Christopher B. Harbin
Luke 2:1-18

Good news can come in unexpected ways. Sometimes it is shocking and requires us to pause and take stock of the message we have received. Good news can force us to re-evaluate our prejudices and expectations, forcing us to reconsider our priorities and plans. It may even change our perspective on reality. We don't normally pause long enough for all that to happen, but good news can be a major interruption in our patterns of living. What is unexpected can cause discomfort even while it is to our benefit.

The unexpected happens in the birth story Luke paints for us. In the midst of a mundane tale of traveling to pay taxes to the Roman Empire, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. God sent an angel to announce this birth to a band of shepherds keeping watch over sheep in the hills outside of town. This should have been a run of the mill birth, yet God sent angels to announce it. The angels heralded Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah, but this announcement was to shepherds on the hillsides beyond the town. By all accounts, that would have been the wrong place and audience to hear these good tidings of joy.

This is simply not the way these things were supposed to happen in the eyes of society. Messiah's birth should have been in the society section of the newspaper, splattered on the cover of People, and taken place in comfort, luxury, and pomp. Then again, this was a singular event and there was no established pattern appropriate to the importance of this birth. Even so, this is the last format we would expect for the birth of God's son.

Then again, Luke does not tell us directly that Jesus is God. That was John's starting point in his gospel, but Luke introduces Jesus here as the son of David, the Messiah, and Lord. It will only be in hindsight that we will be able to read back into this text our understanding that this is God born to this young couple and laid to rest in a ...

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