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Commonsense Christianity

Lots of things, like children, are considered worthless in the world’s eyes. Do we need to accept this way of thinking? Wild Child, original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

Tradition is great stuff. If you attend church, you know that once a year you’ll read Luke Chapter 2 — the birth of Jesus, and given the amount of actual Bible reading that too many Christians do throughout the rest of the year, this may be the only time they see it.

Which is too bad, because we’re so caught up with lighting candles and preparing Advent speeches and trying to find the baby Jesus statue of the Nativity set, that we miss the overwhelming significance of this One-Time-in-the-Universe event.

This was it, folks — the fulfillment of a promise made long long ago in the garden, where Adam and Eve hung their heads in shame because they messed it up, big time, for all of us. There was absolutely no way they could fix what they broke, because, “your wound is incurable, your injury beyond healing. There is no one to plead your cause, no remedy for your sore, no healing for you.” (Jeremiah 30: 12-13)

God Alone Could Fix This

Only God could fix this, and on that night in Bethlehem more than 2,000 years ago, He sent His Son, our Redeemer and Savior, in the form of a baby. God never does things the way we expect Him to. Human logic dictates that He should have sent an elite squadron of heavenly hosts in black op, with Angels emblazoned across the back.

But back to Luke: take a close look at verses Luke 2: 8-20, in which the angels — THERE they are! — appear to a group of “shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.”

Have you ever wondered why they appeared to shepherds, other than that, thousands of years later, shepherds would make a great addition to the figurine collection in a Nativity set?

Shepherding 101

We don’t have a lot of shepherds in our societies today, and the average university student doesn’t embark upon a degree leading to Shepherding Management and Business Techniques, with a minor in Goats. Shepherds, in Jesus’ day, were the equivalent of office drones in ours, or retail clerks — hardworking hourly wage earners who put in long hours for little pay, receive little or no recognition for their skills, ambitions, intellect or cognitive abilities, and have no need to keep Linked In profiles because they’re not considered professionals, at all.

They’re — in the world’s eyes — nobodies.

Like me. Without meaning to sound like Eeyore, I’m a nobody, an ordinary person who doesn’t know what a stock option looks like, a writer who is — according to a recent article about these things — “one of a large population of underpaid bloggers providing content for little or nothing.” (Ouch.) There are millions of us — ordinary people who are tired of being talked to and instructed and manipulated and controlled, and our primary fault is that we let people do this to us: we buy their books. We read about them in People Magazine. We Tweet about their inanity. We make Facebook memes of their funny, or pithy, statements.

We feed and feed and feed the egos and bank accounts of all sorts of people who account themselves important for no other reason than that they — and we — think they are. Money does talk, doesn’t it?

Who Got the Message?

And yet, when it came time to announcing the most important event in the world, the people who learned about it first (other than Mary and Joseph, a couple of other nobodies), were a bunch of office workers; er, homemakers; no store clerks; uh, under-and un-employed workers; nah, people — just ordinary people whom nobody thinks about most of the time because they are so extraordinarily unimportant.

Ordinary people, doing ordinary things — this is human history from the beginning, and it’s the part that matters to most of us. Sophie and Rose, original oil painting by Steve Henderson.

There were plenty of professorial persons nearby. And clerics, religious leaders, political statesmen, successful business owners, military personnel, even middle managers — but the angels did not appear to any of these. They made their announcement to unimportant people — so unimportant that they’re not given a name in the Bible, but so significant that the Christmas Story is not complete without them.

And “they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” (Luke 2: 16-18)

In the eyes of the world, my friend, you’re worthless. Politically, socially, financially, academically, religiously — if you’re not in the elite group, or even the lower-level important ones, you’re a loser, and we ordinary people spend a lot of time dealing with the collateral damage and fallout that these elite people create.

But God does not show favoritism (Romans 2:11), and since “a man can receive only what is given him from heaven,” (John 3: 27), we shouldn’t expect that our position in life would be so important to God that He chooses to communicate with us, or not, based upon it.

God has a purpose for all of His children.

Thank You

Thank you for joining me at Commonsense Christianity where I remind you, my ordinary brother and sister, that mega-corporations and conglomerates are religious as well, and Christianity has been infiltrated with big corporations that call themselves Christian, but act oppositionally.

When you find yourself talking to someone in a “calling center,” ask yourself, “What is it about this corporation that makes me think it actually cares about me, as a person? And if I’m just another number to it, why do I trust it so?”

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