A couple of weeks ago I had the distinct privilege of attending the premiere of a new television show. Along with about 100 people, I filed into the auditorium at the Sam Noble Museum to see the first 3 episodes of the sit-com “Outer Space Astronauts.” I wanted to go see this new show because some friends of mine star in it, and are writers on the show. I have been on the planet for 36 years and lived in Norman for a total of 13 years. In all that time I have never had a friend land the lead on a television show, and have never even heard of a show debuting in my adopted hometown, therefore, I was eager to attend the viewing.
As I filed into the museum that night, I pondered the novelty of it all. How is it that a television show was debuting here . . . in Norman? Away from all the pageantry of Hollywood and far from the formality of New York City, this show was getting its start. Instead of debuting in front of George Clooney and Steven Spielberg, this show was launching in front of a bunch of average Joes.
As I thought about it more, though, this location and this audience made so much sense. Many of the show’s cast members are from Oklahoma, and some are even University of Oklahoma graduates. Also, after watching the show, I realized that this show’s audience is full of average Joes. Because of these reasons, this premiere was in the exact right location and in front of the perfect screening audience.
I was thinking about this experience today as I was reflecting on the Christmas story. Last night was the third Sunday in Advent, and focused on the shepherds’ role in the Christmas story. At first glance, the inclusion of the shepherds seems arbitrary and the location of the nativity seems random. There were many more cities of pomp and prominence in the ancient world. Rome was more cosmopolitan and even Jerusalem was more powerful, but God chose the little town of Bethlehem for Jesus premiere. While the ancient world contained many shepherds, it certainly contained more influential people. Government and religious leaders are bypassed by the angelic proclamation of Jesus birth. At first this location and audience seem both random and arbitrary. Upon further review, though, it makes so much sense.
Jesus was from Jewish descent . . . and an heir of the eternal throne God promised His people through their former King David. David’s hometown was Bethlehem. Therefore, Jesus being born in Bethlehem was like the television star returning to his hometown for the debut. The shepherds roaming the hillside surrounding Bethlehem were a group of very average Joes . . . but Jesus came to reach EVERYONE, even the average folks. Therefore, Jesus “premiere” in Bethlehem in the presence of shepherds is not random or arbitrary, but very purposeful.
As someone who is very average, I praise God the purpose of His coming included people like me. I live in a small town in an ordinary location in middle America. I am not a person of great international importance. Despite these average characteristics, the Christmas story tells me that Jesus came for me too. He also came for you. In thousands of years of human history, this is the only debut of the incarnation. (He will come again, but not as an infant in a manger.) May this great fact make us very eager to adore Him this holiday season.
“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for ALL THE PEOPLE. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.’” – Luke 2:10-11