Christmas Eve - Year A
Kings don't want a sign that will confirm there is a change a-comin'. Change is always dangerous to their position.
Shepherds don’t want a sign that will confirm there is a change a-comin’. Change means a big risk.
Those in power don’t want to lose any authority. Those out of power fear being even lower on the authority scale. Signs are difficult for everyone for they require a response. Better if a sign is not asked for nor recognized.
This night we remember the Shepherd part of the equation. A sign of the Messiah come to reorganize our specific culture and those of everyone else has become a given. Unasked, in its own time, within a context acknowledged to be far from a healthy, a sign is given - a baby is born. Thankfully it was born in a manger which is far easier to track down than a baby born in a household - mangers are something shepherds know about.
Fast forward to the Shepherds actually checking out an unasked for sign. Who all do you envision being in the manger? Mary, yes. Joseph, yes. Anyone else? So when the Shepherds saw a swaddled baby in a manger and made known the stimulus for their coming to look, and Mary treasured their words - who all heard their testimony? We often fantasize about the Shepherds going door to door to tell folks about what they had heard and seen, but probably not.
They talked with Mary and Joseph and returned to shepherding, filled with glory and praise. Again, we often fantasize about their composing songs of thanksgiving. What is your experience of being filled with glory and praise? Hopefully it will have something to do with proceeding to live the next stage of your life differently than you have done up to this time. I envision the Shepherds expressing their glory and praise by forming a Shepherd’s Union and beginning a Jubilee process from a labor base.
May your sign, your checking it out, your witnessing to it, your calling, all be engaged in transforming the present into the presence of G*D come on earth as it is in heaven.
May what ordinary signs you hear and see this day awaken you to new hope, new options, new commitment.