My brothers and I relaxed by the fire after supper. The hills were quiet, and the evening cool and peaceful. It felt good to lie on the grass gazing at the twinkling stars. Our hometown, Bethlehem lay below us still bustling with activity. It had been a busy day; an unusual day. Bethlehem was overflowing with wayfaring strangers who were in town for the census declared by Caesar Augustus. Because we had a large flock of sheep to tend, my brothers and I went into Bethlehem one by one to be registered. We didn’t want to leave the sheep unattended.
As I lay on the grass watching the stars, they seemed to flicker in beat to the songs my brothers were singing. I thought it most amazing or perhaps I was just over-tired and seeing things. Suddenly, the whole sky seemed very bright as if it were daytime. Then there appeared before us a glorious angel. We trembled with fear. I glanced around for a hiding place but found none. The angel spoke to us in a calm soothing voice; “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you; you will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12, NKJV) After the angel finished speaking, a multitude of angels appeared praising God and saying; “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2: 14, NKJV)
It was amazing! I know I wasn’t hallucinating because my brothers saw and heard the very seem thing. I said to my brothers; “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” (Luke 2:15, NKJV) I tell you; we never ran so fast! I stumbled over a few rocks and one of my brothers fell and rolled several feet down the hillside. We laughed and shouted, making quite a ruckus as we raced to the stable where the Christ Child rested. How we knew our way to the correct stable was beyond me. I suppose we were guided by unseen angels.
We found the parents and the Christ Child just as the angel had proclaimed. Although Mary and Joseph were weary from their journey, they were very happy. In fact, their faces glowed with blessedness. We excitedly told them about the angels and the amazing news we received. We had no gifts to give our new King except for praise and worship. And that we gave in joyful abundance.
When we left the little stable, we made our way back to the fields through the streets of Bethlehem. We told everyone we met along the way about the wonderful news. Many marveled and some thought we were under the influence of wine. There were questions: how could a king be born in a stable and why would such royal news be first received by lowly shepherds? Regardless of what others thought, we celebrated; “glorifying and praising God for all the things we had heard and seen that night”. (Luke 2: 20, NKJV) Our shouts of joy carried far into the night. Oh, it was no longer a silent night! And the sheep? They were safe and sound; waiting for us! Praise the Lord!
We will always remember this night and celebrate it yearly with everyone!
This will be Shirley's last post as a regular contributor this blog. Thank you for your faithfulness and commitment to posting each month, Shirley. Your voice will be missed.