{Luke 2:8; ESV}

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

The night Jesus was born was an ordinary night. I am certain that the shepherds watching their flocks of sheep outside of Bethlehem were not expecting anything unusual to happen that night. Most likely they were expecting a night like a hundred other nights they had experienced out in the fields around Bethlehem.

These shepherds were living out their lives totally unaware of what was happening. They didn’t know about the birth of a baby boy in town, let alone the significance of that birth. So these ordinary and unsuspecting shepherds were given the shock of their lives when the angel shows up with a message. Then to add to the experience the army of angels that show up and begin to sing.

That seems to be how God works. He comes when we least expect and while we are doing the ordinary tasks of life. That was true with Moses who was spending another day watching sheep when he encountered God through the burning bush.

Another example would be Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, who was doing his duty as a priest when God sent an angel to talk to him. Zechariah was not seeking a supernatural encounter, but rather he was being faithful in the role God had given him to play.

Not only did these three encounters all happen unexpectedly, but each also left the people involved in the encounter with a choice to make. Moses needed to return to Egypt. Zechariah needed to raise John according to God’s instructions, and the shepherds needed to go into Bethlehem to find the baby Jesus.

God continues to encounter us. Sure these encounters maybe more subtle than a choir of angels or a burning bush, but God will still communicates His will to us. These encounters continue to happen in ways and at times that are unexpected. The most important part of an encounter with God is how we respond to His call. Will we respond like the shepherds who left their flocks in order to search for and worship Jesus? Or will we follow our desires? Each one of us have that choice to make.

The point I would like you to ponder today is: Christmas is a reminder that God shows up unexpectedly to provide guidance for our lives.

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