Today is the first Advent Monday! Advent means “coming” and it is a time of expectant waiting and preparation. It also marks a new liturgical year, so you can put 2020 behind you and start fresh 🙂 There are four themes: hope, love, joy and peace. Things we can always use more of! We dug deeper into these themes on this blog in the past, so I encourage you to look up those posts.
There are a lot of Bible studies out there for grown up, kids, families, you name it…but I often find myself going strong for a couple days and lose my breath halfway. So what we are doing this year with Munger Kids is to concentrate on four defining character of the Christmas story and what was it like for them to experience everything first hand.
First up, shepherds.
From the beginning God promised his people that he would send a king to save them. They knew they needed someone to protect and guide them. They waited and waited for a very long time. Until one day…
Did you know that shepherds (essentially care takers) were some of the first people entrusted with the Good News that Jesus, the Savior, was born? God didn’t choose the richest, the smartest, or the most important people to hear this message first. He chose common shepherds. This shows us that the Good News of Jesus is for anyone and everyone to hear about.
So what actually happened on Christmas night? On that very night an angel (and later a host of angels) appeared to some shepherds who were looking after their sheep. The angels told the shepherds that the king had arrived. The shepherds were completely shocked at first, which is pretty understandable! (In fact, have you ever noticed that whenever an angel appears in the Bible, the first thing they have to say is “don’t be afraid!”? I think it must be a terrifying experience!) Once the shepherds got over their initial shock, they were so excited by the news that they left their flocks and went to find the new king.
What would you have done if you were one of the shepherds who got to see the new king the night he arrived? You would probably go tell all your friends, right? And they would tell their friends and so on and so on.
The shepherds told everyone they knew about the new king. They said come and see our king, Jesus! But there was a problem. Other people weren’t told by an army of angels that Jesus was the king. (I think if an army of angels tells you something, you probably believe it!) No, other people just had some shepherds come tell them. And when they came to see the new king, well, they were very disappointed. He didn’t look like a king at all. He was just a poor little baby living in a stable with some animals.
You see, the people couldn’t understand that the only way that this king could save them was to become like them and to die for them. They didn’t know any of that then.
But that didn’t stop the shepherds. I imagine maybe some people ignored them, some maybe even teased them. But the shepherds knew what the angel told them, they knew the truth and they knew they couldn’t just keep it to themselves. I think they were brave! It was the most exciting news one could ever share. Don’t you think?
What’s interesting is that when Jesus grew up and started his ministry, he called himself a shepherd. And he said that a good shepherd cares for the sheep, he gathers and protects them, he can recognize his own sheep. He also said that a good shepherd lays down his life for his sheep. And that’s what Jesus did. He laid down his life for us. And of course he didn’t stop there. He continues to shepherd us today.
So why don’t you take two minutes during dinner or bedtime and think about the many ways God has cared for you today…And what can you do the next day to extend that care onto others?