December 22, 2017

The Christmas Story: The Last Shall Be First

Cameron Tarrh

Christmas is here and it feels like it comes faster and faster every year. It has always been my favorite time of year. All of the decorations, Christmas specials on TV, Christmas songs and carols, peppermint flavored everything and much more always seem to create happy memories and bring back nostalgic feelings and memories from the past. It is a wonderful time to gather with family and friends, shop for presents and gifts, and not to mention getting some good deals on certain things in stores.

However, in the middle of all the rushing we do during this season, it can be easy to forget about those who feel forgotten – those who are alone and have no need to decorate their house, those who don’t have anyone special to watch the Christmas specials with on TV, those who don’t like Christmas songs, peppermint, or past memories that remind them of how things used to be or of all the things they don’t have. For people who feel they go unnoticed or like they have been forgotten by the world, the Christmas story is good news. And for those of us who get caught up in everything that is great and good about this time of year, the Christmas story is challenging.

The Last Were First

The first people who were told about Jesus being born were shepherds. As is widely known today, shepherds were not on top of the social scale. They were actually close to the bottom. The shepherds in this story were faithfully watching their flocks while the rest of the world was getting along with their lives. It is not known if these shepherds had families, what their names were, or even what happened to them after they saw the angels announce the birth of Jesus. The only thing we know is that after they went to see Jesus, they went back to their flocks and were praising God for what He allowed them to see and hear. These shepherds, other than Mary and Joseph, were last on the social order, but first is seeing Jesus.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind?

For people who feel forgotten, left out, lower than everyone else, the Christmas story (and actually the whole gospel message) is good news because it is a manifestation of Jesus’ very words in Matthew 20:16:

So the last shall be first, and the first last.”

And what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 1:27-29:

but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, so that no man may boast before God.”

For those who feel like they are seen as last and at the bottom, they are not forgotten in the eyes of God. Even though the world pays attention to people who are strong and who have skills that it sees as valuable, the things which the world values are despised by God (Luke 16:15). God sees, knows, and cherishes those the world chooses to look away from and forget. The forgotten can find comfort in the arms of Jesus. He will never cast out anyone who comes to Him (John 6:37). With God, there is no “out-of-sight, out-of-mind.”