…And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them… And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
The Giver gives not only physical blessings. He gives of Himself. He gives the knowledge and the security that we belong. He gives an identity of belonging. We are members of something full of purpose as His children.
I found myself wondering while writing this why God chose to send a whole group of angels to welcome the shepherds into His story. He didn’t do that for Mary or Joseph, the parents of His son. He didn’t do that for the wise men, the respected of society. He sent them each instructions for their role in His story. But to the shepherds, he sent a group of which to be a part, a story in which to partake.
He invited them to take on the same role as the host of angels, to be the messengers to the rest of the world.
One of the things that struck me the deepest during my Araminta training, which continues to strike me each time I’ve heard it since, is this:
“Lives broken in the presence of community can only be healed by the presence of community.”
So many of us carry with us brokenness we inherited from dysfunctional families, toxic friendships, and societies that refused to welcome us in. And the only way to heal that brokenness is through the community of Christ. We need healthy relationships to teach us our worth. We need friends who are loyal in our failings to allow ourselves grace. We need strangers to show us kindness to allow trust to form again.
Maybe the group of angels was sent to be an instant community to the shepherds, an overwhelming display of the knowledge that they were part of something, a first step in their healing.
My story with my mentee has not reached healing yet. There is still a lot of brokenness in that relationship and in her life. But I know that the Giver sees her. I know that she is loved and valued. I know the desires of her heart are known. And I know that I’ve been called to invite her in.
As we chase after the heart of the Giver, our desires should begin to align with his. We know that he makes a big deal about the unseen in society. We know that he desires to call them to something truer. And like the shepherds, we are invited to take on that task with Him. Who in your life needs to be welcomed into healing community with you?
By Sarah Evalle