If you were having a birthday party, who would you invite? When you first get your driver's license and your first car, who will get to drive with you on your first legal drive? When a family has a baby, who do they invite to visit them at the hospital? When we encounter special moments in life we usually only think to share them with the special people in our lives. We wouldn't think to invite strangers or socially awkward individuals; instead we would invite people we are most comfortable with. Yet when it comes to the most special moment in the history of mankind, God chose to connect various groups of people of different backgrounds.
Luke 2:8-20 tells of how an angel appeared to a group of shepherds and told them about the birth of Jesus. They then went and visited Jesus after he was born and then went out and shared their experiences with others. In thinking about this story it is interesting to think that some of the first visitors recorded getting to visit the Savior of humanity were a group of grungy, outcast sheep herders. Shepherds in our everyday Nativity set seem peaceful, hygienic, clean, smiling, and socially acceptable. But when we understand the true context of being a shepherd, we realize that these shepherds were a group of people that spent the majority of their time alone in the fields, they were smelly, gross, and maybe even socially awkward and overlooked. Yet God chooses to bring these smelly loners to participate in this pivotal point in history.
As the Christmas season continues to unfold we need to think about how we as Christ followers can take initiative and begin inviting people to connect with the family of God. Remembering that God sees past backgrounds, race, wealth, social status, appearance and all of the other things that we would typically use to disqualify someone from connecting with us. God is a God of connection and he wants to use us to connect people.