Day 18:Monday 18th December – Luke 2:15-18 ‘They hurried off…’

Luke 2:15-18

Just before Christmas a couple of years ago, I almost lost our car. I arrived for a school event at All Saints and parked up as the children were rounding the corner on the redway about a minute’s walk from the church. Although I was mostly set up already, I had about two minutes of final preparations to do. I grabbed my kit from the boot, waved to the class, asked the teacher to hold them at the gate for two minutes, and hurried into the church. As it happened, I left the car key in the boot lock, on show for all to see.

A couple of hours later, as I was finishing another meeting after the school had gone, a very kind local family popped into church asking if anyone had left their key in the boot-lock of a blue car. That was, of course, me. Thanking them profusely I retrieved the key, grateful that we lived in a safe and neighbourly area!

When events overtake us, and we have to act quickly, it’s easy do things like that. For the shepherds in our story, the golden rule was: ‘Never leave your sheep.’ Sheep were precious, and vulnerable to rustlers and predators alike. And yet here we find them doing just that: hurrying away from the fields and into town. Risking their livelihoods, and their reputation.

For good reason, it turns out. They were on their way to visit the king! And they, of all people, had been chosen to do just that. To be first on the scene. To represent humanity offering its worship and praise to the child in the manger. God had come down, and they had the ringside seats.

I imagine, in that moment, their business was the last thing on their minds. When God meets with us, we crave more of his presence. Something keeps drawing us back. We want to meet Jesus again, and again.

The shepherds are a great part of the story. They are people like us, and do things like we do. At least they had a heavenly host as their excuse, rather than thirty 5 and 6 year-olds. But their hearts had been ‘strangely warmed’ – they were filled with the excitement of God’s intervention in their lives. They got to meet Jesus – ordinary people caught up in an extraordinary story.

That is our privilege too. God is still meeting ordinary people. Often in unexpected ways. Always to draw us into his presence, and towards worship, hope and peace. May God meet with us this Advent, as he did the shepherds. And may it too cause us to ‘hurry’ once more to meet Jesus, and worship the new-born king.