(a dramatic narration, originally presented at the Crossway Ladies’ Christmas Brunch in Bristol, WI)
It was hot and dusty. Totally opposite of our current cold and ice. But tempers flared much like a Black Friday midnight special.
Throngs of people pushing and shoving. Everyone wanting attention.
She knew she shouldn’t be among them. If they knew who she was,
ackk, she couldn’t even think of the repercussions, the horror that she would dare touch them.
But she was desperate. It had been twelve long years. Pain, cramps, all that horrid blood. Taken advantage of by doctors, she’d lost all her money for a cure–And only gotten worse.
So she tried to come anonymously. Because this was her last hope.
He was blind. A beggar. Couldn’t see trees, birds, faces.
But he heard the talk. Everyone putting those like him down, suggesting his disability was a sign of his depravity.
Until he heard of a new voice. One who didn’t condemn but forgave. And healed.
And it gave him courage to call out. No matter what anyone else said to stop him. “Be quiet,” they yelled. “He doesn’t have time for you,” they shouted.
But he just cried out louder, knowing he needed mercy.
Another no name woman. Just identified by region: A Samaritan.
She came in the middle of the day—when no one in their right minds would attempt it. The sun beat down on her head and back, her jars heavy in her sweaty hands.
But she had no choice.
No one would accept her in the morning shade. It just wasn’t worth the stares and whispers.
What of all the men who knew her and were now gone? It doesn’t say. We just know she’d been married five times.
And the man she lived with now hadn’t bothered to marry her at all.
So she waited ’til all the townspeople were gone. And then she crept to the well to collect her water. Alone.
Oh, how they grieved! Two sisters for their brother.
He’d been sick, and they called for help—but help didn’t come.
And these sisters, Mary and Martha, struggled in the darkest days of their lives.
As their hope died with him.
Now, Nicodemus? He had it all.
A prominent leader, he was smart, accepted. He did all the “right” things and could hold his head high.
And yet there was a hole. Enough that he came in the dark of night to find out what he was missing.
Last, but NOT least, you had to be tough to do their job. Shepherding those silly sheep wasn’t easy, and long night vigils was a normal part of the work.
First, there were the wild animals—bears, lions, basically anything that liked to steal a taste of lamb.
Fear wasn’t an option when they had to take one of those down with their bare hands.
And the sheep didn’t help at all, always running off on their own. If one jumped off a cliff, would the others follow? Of course! In fact, left on their own, sheep would walk themselves right to the slaughterhouse.
But shepherding didn’t just mean strong muscles and great night vision. They needed thick skin, too. Yes, shepherds were poor. Yes, they smelled like the fields.
But did that give society the right to treat ’em like they were dirt?
So many stories. Countless lives.
All with a longing. Some desperate. Some questioning. Some not even knowing they had a need.
And yet He came to all. Offering hope, offering change, offering joy.
- To the woman incognito– Jesus felt her touch. Called her daughter. And healed her.
- To the blind man crying out, He heard him. And gave him sight.
- To the Samaritan woman—parched and alone—He told her everything she’d ever done and showed her water that would truly quench her thirst.
- For the sisters, Mary and Martha, He gave them back their brother. Yes, he was dead. For four days. But with a word, Jesus brought him back to life.
- For the rich religious man, Christ showed him his need. To be born anew.
- And those tough shepherds?
One dark night—in a field nearby—He showed them their fear and then took it away, giving them dignity and a message:
Good news of Great Joy. A Savior has been born for you.
He is Christ the Lord.
And, oh, how they rejoiced!