The shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:15)
Larger-than-life characters were the centerpiece of narrative storytelling at the time of Christ’s birth. Homer’s Illiad and Virgil’s Aeneid, for example, featured magnificent warriors who wrestled with ever-changing, capricious gods. Heroes were aristocratic high-born fighters, prime for adventure and domination. Their companions and confidants were equally noble warriors. The storytelling itself was complex and difficult.
By contrast, the true story of Jesus’ birth was marked by poverty and simplicity and is recorded in simple, common language. Though the angels gloriously announced the birth of a Savior, the King would not be a warrior. His comrades would not be soldiers but simple working-class citizens: fishermen, a tax collector, and a doctor. The humble, sacrificial story of Jesus transformed the heroic narrative.
The shepherds heard it first. Not the Pharisees, not the Sadducees, not the nobility—not the learned or the aristocratic power-players. Later, Christ would first reveal his resurrection to women—a shocking move for his culture. This pattern of revelation, of course, is intentional. Even today, Jesus still often uses the least likely characters among us as confidants, those whom the world marks as unworthy.
Christ’s common birth invites us into his story. Perfectly capable of grandiose warlike valor and domination, he instead demonstrated the importance of humility through his sacrificial love for humanity.
Be a part of Christ’s redemption story.
Dalene Rovenstine Fisher is a wife and mother. She serves as the dean of arts and sciences at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.
Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.