Luke 2:1-20, Isaiah 9:2-7
You see it sometimes in a married couple: an unlikely pairing. I’m not talking about what we sometimes refer to as the “opposites attract” scenario, which is actually quite common. No, I’m talking about that couple that leaves you scratching your head, wondering how in the world they got together because they appear to have nothing—and I mean nothing—in common. That was the case with the shepherds and the angels.
It would have been hard to pair two more unlikely groups on the night Mary delivered Jesus. But that’s exactly what God did. He brought together these key players in a drama that we replay year after year. On the one hand, we have the angels, those heavenly messengers of God, startling people with their presence and praise. And on the other, we have the shepherds, a group no one in the ancient world would have entrusted with earth-shattering news. Yet the first group gave the second these memorable lines:
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and peace on earth to people he favors!” (Luke 2:14).
And the second group took this good news and ran with it, so to speak. The birth of the long-awaited Messiah became the common ground for a most unlikely pairing.
There have always been divisions in our world, but due to the ways we currently communicate, it seems we’re more aware of them now than ever before. Opposing viewpoints and challenges to our most treasured beliefs seem to come at us with unprecedented speed and frequency, thanks to social media. It’s more than enough to make a person want to back away.
Yet this most wonderful time of the year reminds us there is common ground with the power to bring together the most unlikely combinations of people, even entire nations. That common ground is the child born for us, the Son given to us, with names like Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, and Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6). Yes, Jesus.
At a time when hope feels paper thin, we are invited to join in this season’s songs of praise. We’re called to lift our voices alongside all who sing the common tune of peace on earth, good will toward men!
Written by John Blase