I’d like to say, “I’d make a great Wise man.” A quick perusal of my high school science grades (the magi were astronomers) reveals magus (the singular of “magi” for those whose high school language arts grades weren’t so hot) wouldn’t be a good career choice for me.
Joseph doesn’t work either. Using tools and following directions are not my strong suits. Of course, Joseph excelled at those skills. My carpentry abilities are limited to an eighth-grade shop-class lopsided box. Moreover, I couldn’t find my way out of a one traffic light town like Otisville before GPS and turn by turn directions.
No way could Gabriel be my match. Every time Gabriel shows up his first words are, “Fear not.” No one has ever looked at me, shuttered and been afraid. No. One. Ever.
Zechariah seems like a logical choice. He was a priest, old, and told to be quiet. Me too. In one church, a guy who would shake my hand nearly every Sunday and say, “He**uva sermon, Father!” Ummm? Thanks? My greying hair indicates I should be a card-carrying member of AARP. Those who’ve wished me to be silent for nine months are too numerous to list. Even still, I’m pretty sure I’m not a descendent of Moses’ brother Aaron which would disqualify me from the priesthood in first century Israel.
My brother (and a few boisterous former church folks) think I’m best suited to be the donkey that carried Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem. I’m not sure the Holy Couple had a donkey and besides mama always said, “older brothers and carnal members can be mean. Don’t listen to them.”
My maleness eliminates: Mary, Elizabeth, Anna or any other female types in the story.
The only choice in which I seem to be qualified is shepherd. Remember shepherding was not a great profession. Any knucklehead could be a shepherd (My only marketable skill is “pastor.” It wouldn’t surprise me if an aptitude test revealed “shepherd” as my next best vocational option). I’m not the type of shepherd who’d fight off lions and bears. Rather, I’m the type of shepherd who screams for help while hiding behind a rock. In other words, my rank in the shepherd’s union would have been apprentice shepherd, third class.
But even apprentice shepherds third class were included on the night Jesus was born. All shepherds heard the powerful Gospel message from the angels.
Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. Luke 2:10-14 KJV
Later those same shepherds became the first evangelists of the good news. “And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.” Luke 2:20 KJV.
The shepherds did what I try to do every Sunday—praise God for all the things I have seen and heard. You don’t need a Master of Divinity degree to do that. Like the shepherds, all of us qualify as spokespeople of the Good News! Let’s sing, shout and tell what we’ve seen God do and heard what God has done.