A priest in central America decided to take a break from regular preaching to listen to the thoughts and insights of the local people.
When he told the story of Epiphany, the coming of the wise men, one old peasant commented,
When God called the wise men, he sent a star. But when God called the poor shepherds, he sent a choir of angels. I think the poor must be God’s favourite people.
It’s a simple logic and a profound theological statement.
The first witnesses to the Christmas event were lowly shepherds. In first century Palestine, shepherds were not considered reliable witnesses in a court of law. So, their testimony did nor count. They were just shepherds.
And that is the good news of Christmas. God wants to have a relationship with us – all of us – not just a chosen few.
And God wants to make sure that everyone who wants to has access to Emmanuel, God with us. God will not be controlled or contained or exploited.
Christmas is a wonderful reminder to all of us that God is not just some transcendent deity out there, somewhere, beyond all the joys and struggles of earthly life. Our God is also here, with and among us, loving us in the messiness of everyday life.
That is something that no one can ever take away from us.
And that is a message that the world needs to hear. That God loves us – is with us, in the midst of us, now and always.