Read Luke 2:8-20.
Being a shepherd in the first century sounds like a pretty socially-distanced job. Shepherds spent most of their time outside while guarding their sheep in fields, isolated from those who lived in nearby communities. Frankly, it sounds kind of lonely.
Or maybe it was not as lonely as I think it was. Maybe the shepherds had fun together, talking as they watched their sheep and telling stories around the fire at night. Maybe I am just tempted to assume that the shepherds felt lonely because in the midst of a pandemic, I sometimes feel lonely. And I want to be like the shepherds. I want my isolation to be broken by “news of great joy.” But despite my hope, I am unsure. After a year dominated by disease, racism, and conflict, will the angels really appear tonight?
And yet they do appear. They reveal themselves in our night sky just as they did the night of the first Christmas, crying out: Christ has come! He is here! Come and see!
So even in the midst of isolation, loss, and frustration, we come. We come before our Lord, and we join with the heavenly host in crying out “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
Lord, we come before you today with mixed feelings. We are sad at the loss of our brothers and sisters, we are angry at the injustices committed in our world, and yet we are hopeful. Reveal to us the joy of your coming once again and remind us that even in the midst of the longest night, the Messiah is here. Amen.
United Campus Ministry of Aggieland (Texas A&M University)