Have you noticed that when God shows up, it's usually so understated? And the way He enters the scene is quiet. And the people He chooses to work through are simple. When he is working on my behalf, no one else sees the way he slips into my circumstance. I can be wailing over the trouble at my back door and His Spirit passes through the front door with such subtly that I could miss it. But something, the fragrance, the warmth, something ensures that I turn my attention from what concerns me to what concerns Him.
The Ancient of Days has been trying to turn mankind's attention for centuries. What might it be like if we recognized Him at the first sign of His Presence? Would we not perceive that what concerns Him IS what concerns us? Maybe that is what He had in mind with the display of wonder to the shepherds on the outskirts of Bethlehem. Instead of the military power the general population craved, He lit up the sky for a few ordinary individuals. If God had done it just a little closer to town, hundreds would have seen that display and would have believed the baby born in obscurity was the Son of God. Why show up where so few were gathered? Why not announce the Messiah to someone with more influence, more clout?
I am as ordinary as one of those shepherds. I doubt like Zechariah. I worry about what people think like Joseph. But I also ponder being chosen like Mary. We share these human characteristics with the people we immortalize in the Christmas story. Yet each one was as ordinary as you and I. Each one was chosen as a vessel through which God could reveal Himself to a world longing for rescue. You and I are the vessels of today. It's not likely that people will read about us centuries from now as they gather around lighted candles. But it is likely that a child will see his worth to God because he understood his worth to you. It is likely a little girl will grow up to choose motherhood because of the influence my choice will have on her. A young woman may choose life because the value she sees you place on your own child. A young man may share with those in need because he saw you give sacrificially. A young person may choose their spouse carefully because they want a marriage like yours.
So that is what I see in the flicker of the Shepherd's candle. Ordinary people who are at home in the hands of God, become the fire that ignites passion in someone else.