Reflection for Today ▶️ ⏹️

Flocks by Night, pastel chalk, by Tobias Mayer, 2022

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
Luke 2:7-9

Born in a communal room,1 wrapped in torn rags and laid in an animal feeding trough, Jesus' entry into this world was symbolic of how he would live: an outcast. There was no room at the inn, and there was to be no place in the world for this prophet of God, who wandered from place to place, penniless, eating and sleeping in the homes of others, declaring the coming of the kingdom to the few who would listen. Jesus was born in poverty and lived amongst the monetary and spiritually destitute. Luke, preaching the gospel to the common man, goes to great lengths to emphasise the poverty of Jesus, lifting his listeners to a place of honour when he tells of the poorest of the poor, the shepherds, social outcasts of the time, being granted the privilege of being the first to hear the good news. This was a different kind of king indeed, a king truly for the people, an equal, born among them, to live among them and seek justice for them.

The gospel according to Luke is known as the social gospel.

"Luke's Gospel is a portrayal of Jesus as a model of social justice. Hence, the reader is empowered and influenced by the Gospel to be actively involved in social justice issues."2

The stories Jesus tells are all rooted in the experiences of the common man, and are all concerned with bringing social balance to the lives of those suffering. The kingdom of God on earth is, to Luke, a new order based on social equality, charity and kindness. By introducing Jesus in the way he does Luke brings the common man into the story, an active player, not simply an onlooker. If all outcasts come together then none are cast out, and a new community can, and eventually does grow. Luke writes about that community later, in the book of Acts. Right now though, he heralds the change to come by bringing Jesus into the world in the humblest way he can.

1 Jesus was not born in a stable by Ian Paul, 9/12/2016