Dec 032013 2 Responses

How Did God Do It Without Google?

For the month of December, I’m taking a break from the normal blog schedule to write a series of Christmas devotionals. To see the first two, see: Walk Slowly at Christmas and Live Christmas on Purpose. Jenny has agreed to do an occasional guest post this month. Here is her first installment.

written by Jenny Thompson

We just came off the busiest shopping week of the year. With Black Friday (now starting a day early on Thanksgiving), Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, unless you have shut off all electronic devices, not picked up a newspaper, avoided the radio, or refused to drive down busy streets, you had no chance of avoiding the bombardment of ads targeted directly to you, promising you the lowest prices, the best gifts, and contentment if you could just buy these things that you and your loved ones want.

These ads are crafted months in advance, researched against competitors and placed in the mediums most likely to drive the greatest reach of the most targeted audience. This is the business I understand—I’ve been working in advertising, sales, and public relations for over 15 years. If you want people to show up—to flock and gawk, to reach the masses, the influencers, the early adopters—then you’ve got to get the word out to them.

I’m no historian, but I’m pretty sure there were pretty limited mass-medium advertising opportunities at the time Jesus was born. I assume word-of-mouth, maybe an announcement at the temple service, or an edict sent out by the government via brutal soldiers usually got the word around a small community quickly—but it would still be very limited. So, of course, it intrigues me how God in his all-knowing, sovereign power would 1) Choose for Jesus to arrive before mass media like TV or internet and 2) If the timing was right, why didn’t he announce it to the influencers and public figures of the time. Jesus arrived and the greatest announcement delivered via a host of angels was only shared with a group of shepherds on the night shift—they didn’t even own the sheep. Who would care, much less listen to, a group of nobodies like shepherds? Surely the angels showed up in wrong place.

The method doesn’t make sense until you consider the life of Jesus. Who did Jesus invite into his inner circle? To eat with him? To follow him? He specifically chose the outcasts in society: the prostitute, the tax collector, the simple fishermen, the sick, the lame, the blind… I’m not sure about you, but I try to include clean, smart, middle-to-higher income, healthy, employed, upstanding citizens in my circle of friends. I’m uncomfortable, more often than not, around those who don’t fit into this targeted category I’ve created. That’s probably the reason I don’t understand God’s decision to reveal himself to some simple, lowly shepherds. Why would they even need to be included? How could they possibly carry enough influence and communication skills to help spread the most important news event ever to the entire world?

And here’s where I think to myself—Maybe I don’t know as much about PR and advertising as I thought, and I definitely don’t understand God’s ways which are obviously greater than my ways. He sent his PR messengers (angels) to an old priest, an unwed teenage girl, a quiet bachelor, and a group of shepherds and was still able to accomplish his ultimate plan for Christ to save the world AND was able to keep the story viral more than 2,000 years later. Not even Facebook, YouTube, or Google will be able to accomplish what God did revealing himself to just a few people in Bethlehem that first Christmas. No matter how great your Super Bowl commercial was, it will not be remembered 2,000 years later.

So what is so special about these plain shepherds?

Nothing at all is special—they are only special because God chose to reveal himself to them.

Why did God choose the shepherds?

“I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to ALL people.” (Luke 2.10)

Perhaps God chose the shepherds to deliver his greatest choir event ever witnessed on earth because they represent ALL people—ALL the forgotten, discarded, nameless, regular Joes of the world.

We can only know God when he chooses to reveal himself to us. And we can only accept God and his great invitation into His kingdom when we shed our pride and understand we are just as ordinary as night-shift shepherds. I didn’t do anything special for God to choose me. I wasn’t anyone important or even someone God needed to carry out his plan to save mankind. He obviously can do that through any means. And yet he chose to reveal himself to me anyway, to invite me to the celebration of the birth of His son. The question then becomes, will I attend the celebration? Will I stop and make time in my busy work and social schedule to visit the newborn King? To experience Immanuel, God with us. There are so many distractions, especially this time of year, that I’m often tempted to discard my personal invitation.

Consider this: When I choose to give more of my planning and time preparing a meal, gifts, decorations, cards, Christmas programs, etc, I’m saying that those activities deserve more of my time in celebrating Christmas than seeking and celebrating Christ himself.

This year I am deliberately choosing to seek out what the angels proclaimed. I am changing my routine to slow down and reflect on my place in the Christmas story. I am walking through the Christmas story with my kids. I am spending more time with family, investing in relationships with friends, recounting sweet memories of childhood, and looking for opportunities to serve others. I’m not saying I’ve got it all figured out and have found a way to drop all my selfish thoughts and habits, but I’m committed to making some changes in how I approach Christmas this year. I’m asking God to make Himself known to me each day, and in faith, believe He will continue to do so.

2 Responses to How Did God Do It Without Google?
  1. Kim Reply

    Great job bridging our daily experience with the relevance of Jesus’ birth, coming up with an original idea at Christmas is hard to do. I was moved by God’s grace and love anew, thanks for leading me to remember who God is, to worship!

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