For example, Bill Crowder (RBC Ministries) illustrates this with the two top rock bands in the 1960’s, the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Both bands were from England, and both bands were revolutionary in their music, but the similarities end there.
The Beatles (in their early years), under the careful tutelage of manager Brian Epstein, were clean-cut, dressed in suits, and fun, while the Stones were dark and brooding and looked more like a street gang than professional musicians. The Beatles were likeable enough to spawn a cartoon series; the Stones were edgy and presented themselves as being almost dangerous. The Beatles innocently sang, “I Want to Hold Your Hand,” the Stones pushed the edges of propriety for that day with “Let’s Spend The Night Together.” As you’d expect their fan bases were radically different.
The Christmas story holds that kind of contrast. Can you think of two groups more different than the angels and the shepherds? The angels belong to another world, but the shepherds belong to the lowest social class in this world. The angels are bright and glorious with heavenly light, but the shepherds are dirty and carry the stench of sheep. The angels knew what it was like to exist in the presence of God, but the shepherds were excluded from the very temple they provided sheep for sacrifice. The angels explode onto the scene with loud, dynamic shouts of praise and worship, but the poor shepherds are stunned and frightened into silence.
Despite these Grand Canyon like differences, in the matter of Christmas, the angels and the shepherds display a surprising similarity. They both wonder at the birth of God the Savior! For centuries Christians have celebrated with awe and joy the birth of the Savior, but the first was this odd couple of angels and shepherds. They come from very different perspectives but they come to the same conclusion: the birth of God the Savior is wondrous.
Related Text Illustrations
Contributed by Frank Gallagher on Nov 26, 2000
We’ve all read and heard these Bible verses about the shepherds before, taught by pastors and Sunday School teachers at Christmas time. We can even hear these verses on TV each year if we watch “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Charlie Brown spends the show as so many people do today, looking in all ...read more
Contributed by Mark Haines on Dec 8, 2000
In 1864, one of America’s great poets, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, wrote the poem which became the well-known carol, I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. When I first heard this song, I wondered, “Why does he suddenly shift from joy at hearing the Christmas bells into such deep ...read more
Contributed by Owen Bourgaize on Dec 6, 2000
In a business magazine I read, there was an article about a company, imaginary I hope, that was planning its Christmas sales campaign. The board of directors was puzzled how they could beat their competitors, then suddenly the chairman had an idea. "We’ll have a crib," he said, getting very ...read more
Contributed by James Wilson on Dec 11, 2000
Christmas shopping, though fun, can be difficult. Did you hear about the guy that bought his wife a beautiful diamond ring for Christmas? A friend of his said, "I thought she wanted one of those sporty 4-Wheel drive ...read more