THE COMPANY HE KEEPS

  

 Luke 1:26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.”

  34″How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

 35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God.”

 38″I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. 

          Jesus was called a “friend of publicans and sinners.”   And we’re told that the “common people heard Him gladly.

          He was one of them.  He is one of us.

         As I’ve reflected once again on the beautiful narratives of the Birth of Christ, I’ve wondered about the people who were “cast” in such an important  drama.  Why do you suppose God chose Mary?  Or Joseph? What kind of “background search” or audition would be conducted to find a suitable person for such an important role as hers?  Even though Joseph’s part was sort of in a “supporting” role, he must have been the right man for the job.  It is obvious that wealth was not a criterion for any of the positions.  Mary was very poor.  Simple.  Unsophisticated.  Probably unknown, by anyone outside her family, her neighborhood.  Going by customs which existed at that time and in those places, she was probably much too young to even obtain a ‘learner’s permit!”  Overlooked and ignored by almost everyone. . . except by God.  He placed value upon her simplicity, humility, purity.  Her complete willingness to do His will.

         There was no worldwide search for the most beautiful, likely candidate for the role in which Mary is cast.  Beauty, notoriety, wealth, impressive credentials and accomplishments simply did not figure into the equation.      

         God has identified Himself forever with the downtrodden the simple, the disenfranchised. When introducing the one who ultimately would claim the title “King of Kings and Lord of Lords,”  God did not confer with Heads of State.  He didn’t need or heed their advice or wealth or power.

           Think for a moment about the SHEPHERDS…WHO WERE THEY?  Not famous athletes, that is for sure.  Nor well-known scientists or scholars or Nobel Prize winners.  They were as ordinary as the guy who runs your grocery store.  Or works behind the counter at your post office. They did not dwell in an impressive, “high-rent district.”  When we’re told later that they were “abiding in the fields,” it means literally that they LIVED out there.  They did not have nice homes or convenient nine to five job with benefits.   They were certainly not high paid executives with obscene salaries, benefits and ‘golden parachutes.’  They were simple,honest and ordinary folk.  

          And wouldn’t it have made more sense if God had taken advantage of modern technology?  GPS, the internet, CNN, Around the world around the clock instant international exposure for example?  The ingredients our scientists have only recently begun to understand and use WERE IN EXISTENCE THEN.  And, really, since God inhabits eternity, time as we view it is inconsequential to Him.  He can remember the future.  From His standpoint, the past, present and future can all be viewed simultaneously…It would have been a simple matter for Him to speed up time, or slow it down, so that our high speed internet and sophisticated means of communicating globally instantly could have just as easily been at His disposal then, as well as now.  He could have summoned the greatest leaders of all time (along with their influence and wisdom)  and brought the greatest news team imaginable to break the “Story.”  He could have used the most advanced technology in existence today, as well as the unbelievable improvements that are “in the pipe,” or still germinating somewhere in the distant future in brilliant young minds.  He did not do that.

          While we’re “just thinking” let’s include The SHEPHERDS…WHO WERE THEY?  Wouldn’t it have made more sense if God had taken advantage of modern technology?  GPS (Think what an ‘addition’ that woud have been if He insisted on bringing the “Wise Men” to the birthplace!) the internet, CNN, Around the world around the clock…The ingredients our scientists have only recently begun to understand and use WERE IN EXISTENCE THEN.  

         Infinite possibilities were available.  But what God COULD have done is not what He did!  That was not the way He wanted to do things.  In my opinion, He deliberately chose the plain, simple, ordinary, poor, neglected and overlooked in order that no one anywhere could ever feel unworthy of His attention and care.  He’s often chosen the “weak things of the world to confound the wise.”  He’s done that routinely, as a matter of fact!  And continues to do so to this hour!  If, in your eyes or the eyes of others, you have considered yourself the “least likely” of persons God would choose and use. . . It may surprise you to know IN HIS SIGHT, you may be the Most likely person through whom He decides to work tomorrow morning.  That is the way He works.  And whom He uses and how He uses them and when and where is His decision, not ours.

         It was never as if He did not care for the “up and out.”  But if He’d used such to break the news of His Son’s Birth and then spread it like wildfire after He was later crucified and rose from the dead. . . Some of us would have excused ourselves.  We would likely have said: “I don’t have that kind talent.  Or that much money.  Or that much influence.  Or that much personality.”  And, you know very well as I do, that if we had by our own ingenuity managed to “pull off” such a production, we’d have claimed the credit.  We’d probably have had the choir of angels trumpeting our praise instead of His.

         When God chose those whom He used in this drama, it is another evidence that His magnificent Grace encompasses all.   None are “unworthy” or “useless” in His sight.

       If you’ve ever doubted that fact, and if it is true that ‘repetition aids learning,’ you may want to read that last sentence again.  And again!

       I’ve long believed the truth of the Incarnation, though I’m left in jaw-dropping awe when I try to fathom the depth and meaning of such an event.  But another very beautiful lesson we can learn from the accounts of the Nativity, is that God chose to use common, ordinary, simple people to make His point and get His message across.  And He used (and uses) them thereafter to take the message of the Angels to everyone else: “Unto you is born, this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord.”

God’s servant, your friend, brother, and fellow student  ~donkimrey             

       

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