Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds in the same country abiding in the field, and keeping watch by night over their flock. 9 And an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10 And the angel said unto them, Be not afraid; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to all the people: 11 for there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this is the sign unto you: Ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger. 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men in whom he is well pleased. 15 And it came to pass, when the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing that is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her, still, betrothed husband, Joseph, have just completed an incredibly difficult journey, for a couple that has not yet consummated their marriage and yet, because God has chosen them to be of use to Him, as He intervenes in the daily operation of His, majestic, creation, are beaten and cannot find decent accommodation. And Mary, holed up with Joseph in, what passed for a stable, has just given birth to the much prophesied and expected Emanuel, the Messiah of not just Juda or Israel but the Messiah of the entire world´s population. And then this young couple, not of Royal Station but, certainly, not beggars either are forced to give birth to their first born without even a mid-wife... just the two of them alone! And then, almost before they can wrap the Babe in the rags, they have available, in troops a gaggle of the most despised of all the working class, Sheep Herders. These men spend weeks and months in the field, eating with, caring for and sleeping with their smelly, dirty and nasty sheep. They smelled to the farthest reaches of the atmosphere! Yet there is such an important point to be drawn from the story, here. God sent His Messengers, the Angels, to the lowest class, the most disliked, of the entire nation, that they, not the kings might be the first to honor His Son, that they might be honored and know that God loved them enough to, personally enlist them into His service! Every year, as I survey and greet folks at my home church I see a complete catalog of persons in attendance. Some are as well or, often, better dressed than I and then on the bottom of the catalog I see and personally greet some that look as though they had just walked out the main entrance of the Walls Prison Unit, just up the highway a bit. For the lack of a better way to express it, each of us need and are seeking the same thing, the love of God and His forgiveness. And yet, there are clicks in every church where the ¨haves¨ separate themselves from the ¨have not.¨ It´s a funny thing about Christmas, people celebrate the birth of Jesus once a year. I and my wife are prone to give gifts every day of the year but that, gift giving, is not the celebration but rather is the submission called for by our LORD in the Great Commission. But as we plan, each day, to accomplish what our Master has laid on our hearts to complete for Him, we celebrate Christmas, every day. Now, back to those shepherds/handicapped/ ex-cons/alcoholics! The one thing that gets me upset on the turn of a dime is hypocrisy. This month I have given several computers away after I clean the hard drives and install an up to date, that is the latest version, of Ubuntu/Linux on them. I have but one requirement, the one my IT Team Members and I agreed to, they must sign a pledge not to do anything illegal and promise not to surf the web for porno. Some of these folks have never been in a church building in their lives and it shows. Some are not like us, if you know what I mean. They have not been blessed by God, the way I am. Now, go back to the thought that popped into your mind with the first sentence of this paragraph. That, friend is not Christ-like! I know because I´ve been there... on both sides of the fence. We are not going down the straight and the narrow path when we act on those thoughts. My team just gave a complete unit, monitor, keyboard, mouse and C.P.U. To a physically and mentally handicapped male a few days ago. He is one of ¨those¨ people, you see! In this case it will tug at your heart because he is seven and you know that, being in Special Ed. Every one of his peers picks on him but the same is true of the forty or the fifty year olds. God, our Father, loves every single one of us, even the most despicable and we, being His Chosen Sons, can be expected to do no less. I´ll tell you a little secret, he´s the only child in that condition that I´ve been honored to help recently but there are older ones, adults, also. This little guy sent me a Christmas card telling me what a great thing I had done, allowing his mom and dad to get to the Web so that they can afford to Home School him and see to it that he is not just babysat at school. But there is another couple that are both not the brightest lights on the string, adults. The team, this year repaired their computer, a netbook, for no cost to them. It cost us exactly thirteen dollars for a new keyboard to fix the unit and you would think we had given them a million dollars and the pure love they pour back on us is limitless. Those ugly smelling visitors were sent to the Manger by God, the Father... maybe that ex-con that moved next door was also sent to you by your Father. Think about it and worship every day this year, just like it was Christmas or Easter!