From Fear to Hope:
A Shepherd’s Prayer
Luke 2:8-20

 Why me, O God? Why me? Of all the people and of all the places you could have chosen to appear, why did you come to me, tending my sheep, way out in the middle of nowhere? Why should I, a lowly shepherd, have been given the high privilege of a heavenly visitation? Why should I, a lowly shepherd, have been blessed with hearing music that was more beautiful and more glorious than any mere mortal should be allowed to hear? And why should I, a lowly shepherd, have been given an audience with the King of Kings?

Advent Part Three

Maybe it’s because I was watching and waiting. It is simply what shepherds do. Or maybe it’s because only a shepherd could truly understand the heart and the intent of the Good Shepherd; the one who would leave the ninety-nine to go in search of the lost one. Maybe it’s because only someone who takes care of lambs could truly appreciate the Lamb of God who comes to take away the sin of the world. Or maybe it’s because people like me—lowly and outcast—hold a special place in your heart, in your affections, and in your kingdom. Maybe it’s simply because I was not so preoccupied with doing a million-and-one “important” things that I was too busy to notice your arrival. Or maybe it’s all of the above. Who really knows?

You saw our struggle, you saw our pain, and you just had to come. I guess that’s why they call you Emmanuel.

What, O God, does your coming tell me about who you are? What does your willingness to step down from your heavenly throne and come into this dark and broken world tell me about your heart and your nature? What does your silent and hidden entry into the hustle and bustle of this chaotic place and time tell me about where, and to whom, you are most likely to show up? What does your birth in a dirty stable, in an obscure village, to a couple of poor teenagers, tell me about your Spirit and your character?A Shepherd's Prayer

And what does your coming say about me? Does it tell me that, in spite of how I feel about myself at times, I am somebody to you? Does it tell me that I am significant enough in your eyes and your estimation that you would come from heaven to earth just to make sure I knew that? Does it tell me that I am loved more than I could ever hope for, or imagine in my wildest dreams? For you, O God, just could not stay away. You saw our struggle, you saw our pain, and you just had to come. I guess that’s why they call you Emmanuel.


About the Author: Jim Branch

Jim Branch Jim is the director of Core Leadership, an organization in Knoxville, TN that focuses on spiritual nurture and soul care, particularly as they relate to leadership. He was on staff with Young Life for 18 years and also spent ten years as a pastor of a local church. He has a wonderful wife named Carol and three grown children; Tim, Michelle, and Hunter.

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