The shepherds who came to greet Jesus when he was born were lower class folk (Lk 2). The well-to-do and the educated did not regard them as people of much value. Many religious persons despised them as sinners. Yet it was to such as these that Jesus’ birth was announced in a special way. Luke is telling us that God loves people whatever their station in life and, indeed, that he has a preference for those who are despised.
It is when we have nothing in this world that we may become willing to listen to God’s word. It would be false to believe that God does not love wealthy people. He loves everyone. The problem for the well-to-do is that their possessions may get in the way of listening to God. It would also be false to believe that it is good for us to be sinners so that God will favor us. What he is looking for in us is not our sins but rather awareness of our sins and a willingness that he make us better.
On this Christmas Eve, Lord, I look forward to your coming to me to lift me up. Give me the humility to receive you with the shepherds’ joy.