The rumor mill in Heaven had been churning. Word had spread about a special message God wanted to deliver to Earth, and all the angels were excited . . . until they got more information about the assignment.

“Hey Herald, did you hear the news?” the angel, Timothy, said. “His Holiness wants to send some of us down for a special project.”

Herald asked, “So what is it this time — do we get to talk to a king? A prophet? The high priest? A dignitary?”

“Hold onto your halo, Herald. Are you ready for this?”

“Come on, Timothy, out with it.”

“Okay. He wants us to deliver a message to a bunch of shepherds.”

“You’re kidding! Why would His Holiness ask us to do a thing like that?”

“Beats me. But I know He has a good reason for it — He never makes mistakes.”

The angels probably didn’t fully understand why God sent them to deliver their message to unkempt shepherds on that quiet night. But as the years went by, they saw why. The baby Jesus matured and began His ministry, reaching out to helpless and hurting people from all walks of life. In fact, some of His greatest works were done for social outcasts. He healed the blind and lame and cleansed lepers. He ate with tax collectors and extended forgiveness to an adulteress. The angelic message to the shepherds on the first Christmas portrayed the scope of Christ’s earthly ministry. No soul was too impoverished for Him.

You might not be on the receiving end of gifts from the Salvation Army this Christmas, but we are all impoverished in spirit at one time or another. Sometimes we endure heaviness of heart from our shortcomings. Many experience loneliness even when surrounded by friends and family. In their crises, some turn to alcohol; others overeat. If you understand that Christ came to bear the burdens of impoverished people like you and me, then you need do neither. You can put your burdens on His shoulders and rest — now this is one message worth sharing.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.