“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of heavenly host praising God and saying:  Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.”  Luke 2:13,14

“Where is He who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.”  Matthew 2:2

Marketing is marketing; whether serving today’s public or trying to get the word out over 2000 years ago.  There are questions about who should my target audience be?  How am I going to get them to take notice?  What do I want them to do after they’ve heard the message?  For that matter, what is my message?  What should my brand be?

In the world today, an incredible amount of resources including time, money, data mining, data analyzing go into trying to get just the right word to influence the right people to do something (In most cases purchase something).  There is hardly anything better in today’s parlance then having something go viral; a video that gets shared over and over again; a saying that takes off and everyone uses, even if they are not sure where it originated (Have you heard recently someone call out in an exaggerated voice sometime during the middle day of the week:  What day is it?)

So the Savior is coming into the world.  Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is about to be born.  The God of all creation is coming to live among His created.  How should that be announced?  What would the world expect?  Shouldn’t there be some sort of cataclysmic, earth stopping, all encompassing event that not one living person could ignore?  At the very least, should not the Jewish leadership get a special dream or personal dictate saying that their King has arrived?

Shepherds.  Shepherds; Really?  That is among the first, except Mary, Joseph and His Aunt Elizabeth and Uncle Zacharias  who You are going to let know that their Savior has come into the world?  Shepherds of their day were among some of the least accepted and lowest thought of.  They were not allowed into the courts to testify.  They wandered with their flocks.  There was  no special training needed nor anything special about them.  They smelled like their sheep! (sweaters and other processed wool can smell great; wool still on the sheep?  Not so much).  Yet it is God’s design that they, while everyone else is asleep, they and seeming they alone will be privileged to be the witnesses to an angel announcing Jesus’ actual birth and then the heavenly host of angels singing praises and promises to them and to all human beings.

Wise men.  Kings.  Now this makes a little more sense.  But notice it is not local wise men or leaders.  Herod has not idea, until they come knocking on his door, that the Messiah has been born and he is greatly troubled by the surprising news.  What marketing tool was used here?  A dream? An angelic visitation?  No, a star; actually the star.  Which means that these three kings must have been looking just for such a star.  As well as, once they witness it, be willing to travel great distances just to pay homage to the King of kings.

Marketing.  Again remember, it’s not just about distributing information.  No marketing is about getting people to do something with the information.  The shepherds were not specifically ordered to go see the baby Jesus.  They were told what the sign of His coming would be; a baby in a manger, but they were not told to go see.  Yet the sight was so miraculous, the message so compelling that they felt they had to go see and they left their flocks.  The three kings; who knows how long they had been looking for the star; His star.  But once it is revealed to them; they are compelled to undertake an epic journey to find and worship the new born King.

The lowest of the lows and the highest of the highs; Jesus came for them and us all.  The shepherds had no education in ways of ministry.  They could neither read nor write.  Some might have told them of the concept of a Savior but the details of how, where or when He would be born would be completely foreign to them.  Jesus came to be their Savior.  The kings, with all their wealth, power and knowledge, these kings knew that there was something, Someone greater.  They knew that their kingship was puny compared to His.  They felt honored and humbled to be in His presence; to honor and worship Him.  Jesus came to be their Savior too.

The marketing plan worked! (Of course it was God’s after all)  The shepherds not only came to see Jesus but the bible tell us that they left glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen.  The three kings willingly, even gladly parted with their own possessions of great value as gifts and tributes to new born Savior.  Does it still work today?  The angel tells the shepherds that this is news of good tidings and great joy which will be to all people.  Even though they had traveled long and hard and were about to hand over a significant amount of their wealth in tribute to Jesus; we are told the wise men rejoiced exceedingly and were filled with great joy.  What is your and my response to the fact that God came to earth to save us?

Finally, I have to admit there is a flaw in my calling this a marketing plan.  For normally a good marketing plan is about getting each of us to purchase something (often whether we need it or not).  What Jesus Christ brought to us and for us, He did for free.  And the world answers back; if it seems too good to be true; don’t trust it.  And:  You get what you pay for!  There is something strange about our distrust of and the fact the distrust gets heightened the more personal wealth we have; about things that are free.

We are being called.  There is no snappy slogan or colorful, gorgeous spokes model.  There is only God.  God the Father who created us and planned for our salvation.  God the Son, Jesus Christ, who came to earth to die our death and thus take away our sins for our salvation.  God the Spirit, who lives in our hearts and testifies to us of the Love of God.  May it be that each and every one of us freely “buy” into that plan.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, we first thank you that You have given us Your word that calls out to us today as it did to the shepherds and kings of long ago proclaiming the coming of Jesus Christ for our salvation.  Forgive us Merciful Father, when we disregard the calling, are slow to respond or wish to purchase that salvation on our own terms.  Finish the plan You started in Christ with us, Dear Father that we would live the transformed lives of Your Children and spread Your Word to a world so in need.  We pray these things in the Name of Jesus Christ.  Amen

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