Day 21 // Invitations

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15 (NIV)

Did you know the first announcement of the Messiah’s birth was given to some anonymous shepherds? They were living out in the fields tending their flocks one night when at first one angel, maybe Gabriel, then a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel to celebrate the invitation for these men to come and see the new born Savior.

Why shepherds? Wouldn’t you think since Jesus was the new born King, it would have been kings? Since Jesus came to be our High Priests, surely it would be priests and religious leaders that would have been invited first? Even the invitation to the wise men didn’t come until Jesus was a couple of years old. So why these anonymous shepherds? Once again our Advent adventure reveals the grace of God toward mankind hidden in the Christmas story.

Shepherds in this day were considered outcasts in Israel, just common laborers. Their work made them ceremonially unclean and prohibited them by the religious law from entering the temple. They were poor and lowly men, yet God extended the first invitation to His Son’s birth to them! Think of it. These shepherds were social no names whose job it was to tend the flocks that may have even been used by the priests for the temple sacrifices, yet they could not even attend the services because they were not accepted. How would they ever have opportunity then to know God and have their sins atoned for?

By inviting the shepherds, we see the grace of God. God is no respecter of persons! He’s not impressed with the rich and mighty! 1 Corinthians 1:26-29 (NIV) says, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things – and the things that are not – to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.”

Ever felt excluded? You didn’t seem to fit in with the popular crowd? You weren’t the brightest or strongest? In fact, maybe you were the last to be picked on the playground. Take heart, my friend, you are the one God is looking for to show Himself strong! Nobodies are somebody to God! He knows your name, and He loves you! He sent His Son for you! The invitations have been sent, and your name is on the list! Do what the Shepherds did.

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’” Luke 2:15 (NIV)

Thank you for including me in Your invitation! Because You called me, I can come and experience Your grace and forgiveness made possible through Your Son, the Lord Jesus Christ! Your love is unconditional, and Your grace is unlimited!

When did you first receive an invitation to come to Christ?

How did it make you feel when you discovered God called you and loves you?

What should be your response to those considered social outcasts today?