Today, I’m happy to open up the front door of this blog and welcome a special writer, Ronja Oksanen. I’m excited to introduce you all today to this lovely young lady from Finland who writes so beautifully about her faith. Ronja’s doing a series on the Advent right now at her blog, abounding grace. Enjoy today’s post from Ronja, and be sure to head over to read the rest of the series on her blog.
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12)
“…and the glory of the Lord shone around them.”
Friend, did you know that shepherds were social outcasts at the time of Jesus’ birth? These men who protected and cared for the lambs that were used in temple sacrifice, held a bad reputation and were considered unreliable. They were not even allowed to give testimonies in the court. These shepherds living out in the fields, not welcome in the city — and they keep watch over the flock day by day, these sheep an important part of the sacrifice required from those in the city. These shepherds faithful through the dark nights, their labor never noticed and their efforts never thanked for.
But in the darkness of the night, an angel appears — and we are reminded that there is always a “but God” waiting for us desperate to be noticed, needing to matter to someone. The Creator always sees His created ones. Here, the darkness gives way as the glory of the Lord breaks through the cracks of brokenness, glory brilliant and bright. The mighty looking angel in front of the shepherds and they are afraid; this whole thing something completely different than anything they have ever experienced before.
The miracles of God happen right there in the midst of the mundane.
“I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.” Here, a moment after Jesus’ birth, an angel bringing the Gospel to those socially outcast and never noticed. To those striving and trying, and never making it. To those who have quit trying and now live out in the fields, right there in the middle of the deep darkness of the night.
Beloved, it does not matter whether we are outcast or just plain arriving last. Whether we are broken people ourselves or maybe we broke people somewhere along the way. Whether we make a difference or we just are different. The Light of the world was born in the middle of the night, in the deepest darkness — and this is how we know that the Light will break through even our darkness; that His glory will shine bright around us, too.
Now, beloved, hear His gentle whispers of relentless love. Feel the warm flicker of light spark in your soul. These good tidings of great joy — they are for all of us weary and wounded, for us sinners and scarred ones, for us lost and lonely.
All we need to do is to open our eyes and see, to open our hearts and receive.
He is here, Immanuel. God with us.
Guest writer on Front Porch, Inspired
Ronja (pronounced RON-yah) is a follower of Jesus residing in southern Finland. She is a blogger, a Speech & Language Pathology student, an encourager, and always looking for glimpses of God’s grace. She writes over at Abounding Grace about discovering God’s beauty in the ordinary and His grace in the breaking and mending.
instagram // @ronjaon Facebook // https://www.facebook.com/abide.in.grace