Name of Jesus, Year A

Inspired by Luke 2:15-21

“When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.’  So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger.  When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child.”  Luke 2:15-17 (NRSV)

Babies are born every day.  Very few are heralded widely throughout the earth.  Most are born into obscurity, their arrival noted only by their families and their families’ loved ones.  It’s such a common event, most people just don’t notice when it happens.

The shepherds in the fields would not have noticed the birth of the Christ child on their own.  Bethlehem was crowded with travelers there for the census, and Jesus was probably one of many infants born during that journey.  But an angelic host came to the shepherds and announced the arrival of this particular infant.  Afterwards, the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem to see this miraculous child, and, armed with the angels’ proclamation, they saw the existence of a newborn babe lying in a manger with new eyes.  All their worldly experiences told them this was merely a child born into poverty, unlikely to amount to much in such a brutal world.  But they’d been given a glimpse into God’s activity, and they understood that the labels and definitions provided by their worldly experiences simply did not apply.  This child was extraordinary, the Savior they’d been waiting for, and the fact that he was born in such humble circumstances only served to further demonstrate that God values things differently than we do.

How much of God’s activity do we miss because we refuse to look beyond the value systems imposed by the world around us?  Be open to God’s incredible creativity, and let yourself be surprised by the miraculous things he does through the most unlikely of people and in the most humble of places.

Let us pray.  Creative God, you are not limited by our imaginations.  Open our eyes to your activity, that we may be inspired and comforted by your involvement in the world.  Through Christ our Lord, Amen.