Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Advent Reflection #15

I am almost caught up with my numbers on these advent reflections (I think I'm one behind) and can start to enjoy Christmas myself. 

According to Luke, the only witnesses at the birth of Jesus (other than a midwife, which I am convinced was there, of course--these silly ideas that Joseph delivered the baby or that he was born without a need for assistance are crazy) were the shepherds and the angels, and the shepherds were really only there to visit, not see the birth.  The shepherds are the first ones to hear the news, and their response was downright Pentecostal:  they praise and they tell everyone. 

The shepherds remind me of those beggars in the Old Testament story of the famine in Jerusalem during a siege.  "We might as well go."  They were terrified at first, which means the heavenly display must have been a lot more overwhelming than we assume.  The aurorea borealis times one hundred.  They leave their flocks--not something they would do unless the phenomenon was far greater than usual, because they could have lost their jobs, as menial and lowly as they were. 

mary, on the other hand, ponders all these things in her heart.  As a person who has lived through the evangelical experience, I have always judged my spiritual life by my lack of evangelism.  But neither Mary nor the shepherds are condemned or praised for their reaction--both are acceptable. 

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