Shepherds and Angels

dsc_0053Sometimes a Bible story comes to life in a way that couldn’t be more obvious.

We met Gunasundari on the bank of a small lake a pretty good ways outside of Chennai.  When she was 8, both of her parents died, so she and her two younger brothers moved near the lake to live with their grandfather.  She had to drop out of school and start cleaning houses in order to earn enough money to take care of herself and her family.

Now Gunasundari is 15 years old and a member of the “Angel” group through ZOE Ministry.  She received a micro-grant from ZOE to raise ducks as a source of income.  While she started with 50 ducks, now her flock has grown to 250!

Looking over her shoulder we could see the shelter she lives in: a thinly-framed structure, draped with just enough fabric and plastic to provide a little shade from the sun and cover from rain.  Gunasundari stays at the lake, often alone, keeping watch over her flock of ducks by night, protecting them from the foxes who would come to steal them.

Standing there, I couldn’t help but think of the time the angel appeared to a bunch of shepherds on the outskirts of town as they were keeping watch over their flocks by night.  Shepherds lived on the periphery of society, vulnerable to the elements, scraping out a living, staff in hand as a matter of life or death—for themselves and their flock.

The angel says to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy” (Luke 2:10).  The headline of the good news was: to you this day a Savior, Jesus, is born!

It makes me wonder if Gunasundari, a member of the “Angel” group, has ever had a messenger from God catch her by surprise with a word of hope.

I believe through ZOE Ministry God has delivered to her and thousands of other children a message of good news and the freedom to not fear.  Local ZOE staff and leaders as well as generous partners half-a-world away are the embodiment of good news for Gunasundari.  We get to share with her the good news that God has a future for her with hope, that she is loved by God, and that she has a place and group of people where she belongs.

It’s Advent, when messages of hope and good news break into the world like beams of light into a dark corner.  Give a gift of hope, be the messenger who says, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy!”

Click here to give a gift of hope.

Glory to God in the highest heaven!