Luke 2:11-12 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.
The Saviour of the world had been born. His incarnation was so significant that God sent an angel to announce the birth to shepherds. The previous verse records that the Messiah's arrival was good news for every people-group; now unsophisticated farm workers are told that Jesus has been born to them personally and they were instructed to go to meet Him. They were not dressed for a royal visit, so perhaps they were reassured that there was no need to change their clothes, when they knew that they were looking for a swaddled baby, lying where the animals were fed.
Jesus is described as a descendent of David the king, and yet He is also the Messiah from God - the ruler of all people. In Him, the long line of covenant promise, from Abraham through David, fuses with the incarnation of God. Yet the shepherds were not put off. They were told three times that Jesus was for them; and that they were expected to find Him. Of course, the shepherds had their own unique encounter with Jesus: but Jesus had not only come for them, but for everybody; irrespective of their nationality, tribal loyalty or culture.
Many people find the humility of the manger difficult to bring together with the majesty of its occupant. Yet Jesus started on earth as an outcast, was hunted as a dangerous rival, continued as a refugee, and spent the best part of 30 years in obscurity. He completed His mission with a slow painful execution, as a common criminal. Yet He came to save the overloaded businessman, the proud king, the civil servant, fellow trades-people, religious police, professional soldiers and even executioners. They could all have received God's blessing by welcoming Jesus, but most were too proud.
On the other hand, the shepherds knew they were nothing special: and so the humble sinners went to meet the humble Saviour. In fact, you cannot come to Christ in any other way (see www.crosscheck.org.uk to know more). Although God's invitation is to all, only the humble listen and respond. The Holy Spirit works to convict us of sin, so that we realise that we need God's mercy. Humble people will plead for mercy and will accept free salvation; but the proud will use confidence or competence as a mask for arrogance, and will disqualify themselves from God's grace. So let's stay humble ourselves, and pray that the proud will humble themselves to seek the Lord before it is too late.
Prayer: Gracious God. Thank You for bringing me to realise my need of Jesus as my Saviour. Forgive me when pride rises in my heart to grieve Your Spirit and prevents me from receiving Your grace. Help me to practise humility so that it becomes my lifestyle, and to be a valid witness of the transforming power of Your indwelling Spirit. Help me to pray for those whose pride rejects Your mercy; may my friends and colleagues desire to meet You for themselves. In Jesus' Name. Amen