Now, we are at the final Advent posting just before Christmas! In this entry, we have to speak up for the little guys. Those that have no say in a world that craves for power and might. Yet, the first Christmas message was given to them, the...
Shepherds! They are the ones whom the greatest news in the universe is told to, right after Joseph and Mary: Then an angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them... 'to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the Messiah, the Lord... you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger...' (Lk 2: 9 - 12)
It is said that good guys and the weak never win. They always end up last as total losers. So, to be on top, you need to be ruthless and don't give in to any signs of deficiency or feebleness. Be a Vader and embrace the dark side. I am sure that there are many of us who would be very tempted to do just that, especially when our priorities, whatever they may be, are threatened. We may want to rebel just so we can get what we want and bully our way right through to the top of the heap.
The shepherds have come to symbolised a sign which goes against all the might and the powerful which the world can throw at them. Yes, to be a shepherd is to be no one, nothing. They have no say and play no part in the world's arena of governance and politics of their time. Even in society, they are nobodies. They are the anawim, "the lost and the forgotten ones", to whom Jesus refers in his beautiful beatitudes on The Sermon on the Mount. Anawim is also the plural form of an Old Testament Hebrew word which is variously translated as "poor", "afflicted", "humble", or "meek". But it is to these people that God exalts and have a very special place in His heart.
As we end our Advent journey and get ready for Christmas, we are reminded again to reflect deeply where we stand with our faith. Do we find ourselves constantly wanting to claw our way to the top or do we practice humility which provides the ability to trust in the promise of God; "I will be with you always"? Trusting in that promise is a choice for one who returns good action for evil.
May you have a good, blessed, peaceful and joyful Christmas!