Daily encouragement

Video by

Kimber Gilbert

ACF Devo Team Leader

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Luke 2:10

But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people."

Behind the Scenes

Have you ever been in a situation where you were uncomfortable? Where you didn’t fit in and it showed?

When I lived in Las Vegas, I went out with some new friends I had just met. We went for dinner out on the town, and these ladies, whom I barely knew, were dressed to match such occasion! As for me, not so much. As these ladies donned heels and black dresses, I shuffled in my Birkenstocks and corduroys, REI shoulder-bag in tow. I did not match the Vegas dress attire. Never had I felt so out of place or been more uncomfortable with the way I looked.

As out of place as I felt that night, I think of the shepherds to whom the angels appeared to announce Jesus’ birth. As Pastor Brian recently explained, they weren’t just humble, lowly people (maybe even young adults or kids), they were outcasts of society and considered unclean. Not only were they physically dirty and smelly from sheep excrement, blood, and bugs, they had a bad reputation and could be considered untrustworthy.

The most exciting birth announcement was revealed to these shepherds, at night, out in the fields, just doing the ordinary. How is that even significant?

However, God often seems to reveal his holiness in ways that aren’t fully seen or understood. He revealed himself to Moses in a bush, he revealed his presence to the wandering Israelites in the desert through the pillars of cloud and fire. And through his commands to King Solomon, he revealed himself in the building specifications of the Jewish temple. At the temple, sinful or “unclean” people would perform sacrificial rites, through the priests, to make atonement for the people’s sins and be “made clean.” God’s presence, guidance, direction, protection and blessing could only happen when the priests and the people were clean of sin.

Thinking back to the dirty and unclean shepherds, I wonder what they felt as the angel’s songs and God’s glory surrounded them? We know that they were afraid, but what else? Did they recognize how much they smelled? Did they feel unworthy of such joy declared?

What we know in Scripture is that they went to find that babe in a manger, proof that what they heard and saw was not of the imagination. They didn’t debate or talk themselves out of the divine experience, they didn’t consult priests, or go home to change and take a shower, they simply went.

Make it Real

What joy there is in coming to Jesus as you are! I don’t have to dress to the nines. I don’t have to wear the right shoes or have a PhD in theology. I am able to come into the presence of God because of Christ Jesus, who takes away my sin and deems me clean. God showed that it doesn’t matter what you look like, your status or life position, or where you physically reside. He came for all people - to save and redeem all people.

What’s on your mind today? Is it the stress of finding the perfect gift or creating an amazing memory? Are you feeling left out, like you don’t belong or missed the memo on how to enjoy this Christmas season?

Jesus came for you. He came for when you didn’t get picked for the A-team. He came for when you cheated and messed up. He came for when you couldn’t let go and be generous, and he came for when you didn’t measure up.

What a balm for the soul. In 2 Corinthians 4:6 it says, “For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” We don’t need angels to come down and reveal God’s glory, we only need to look to the face of Jesus.

End in Prayer

Emmanuel, God with us, I praise you that you chose to reveal yourself to the lowly, the marginalized, to those who are deemed unclean. I praise you that I don’t need to look or act a certain way for you to forgive me or pay notice, but that you first loved me and came to earth to save me. May I rest in your love, allowing the Holy Spirit to help behold your glory and enjoy being in your presence.

Written by

Hollyn Roberts

ACF Devo Team