There are few events more exciting in life than coming home after you’ve been gone for a while.
I went to college about six hours from where I grew up, so I know this feeling well. It’s not as much going-to-Disneyland exciting as it is finding-$10-in-the-pocket-of-an-old-pair-of-pants exciting. And there is a difference, trust me.
Regardless, each time I returned, there was a short list of people I immediately wanted to see.
We all have those people in our lives, and whether we admit it or not, the great majority of us have our visits to those folks prioritized. It makes sense. I mean, there’s not chance I wasn’t going to see my grandpa or my best friends when I was in town, but my high school Spanish teacher? Eh, I might just catch up with her the next time I show up in town.
On Thursday, us Christians will celebrate the day Jesus first showed up in town and I think it’s very telling who the first people were God wanted his son to visit.
It wasn’t a king, or a governor, or even a priest.
It was a group of dudes who made their living by sleeping in a field watching sheep. Seriously, does any little boy or girl grow up dreaming of that career?
OK, maybe they do, who am I to judge their dreams, but regardless, I think it’s fair to say these were not Bethlehem’s A-listers, yet they were the very first people to get to spend time with Jesus. The very first people to get to encounter God in the flesh.
At the time this might have seemed a little surprising to Mary and Joseph. I mean, here they just witnessed a series of angel-laced miraculous events and the first person they get to share their story with is Jimmy the herder?
But as Jesus’ life went on, it became very clear, it was the herder Jimmys of the world with which he was most concerned.
Whether it was the woman at the well, the short guy in the tree, or the dudes he drafted to become “fishers of men,”(not fishmen, as they are occasionally mistaken to have been) Jesus seemed to value his time with those folks just as much, if not more, than any time he spent with the more high society type folks of the day.
Throughout history the church has too often lost sight of this characteristic of Jesus. It has too often overlooked the value of the common people in exchange for those the world views as more important.
It’s too often forgot that one of the best aspects of Jesus is his ability to put all people on a level playing field. The rich, the poor, the healthy, the sick, those who’ve sinned some and those who’ve sinned a lot. Everyone has an absolute 100 percent equal need for Jesus and he has an absolute 100 percent equal desire to fill that need.
The truth is, we’re all common people in Jesus’ eyes.
But the good new is, that’s exactly who he came here to visit.