December 26, 2020

Do You? - Marnie Pohlmann

I rose from beside the fire, turning away from its warmth and light to adjust my eyes to the night.

“Father,” I heard the whisper of my son.

His call did not sound tired, as though he were eager to give the over-watch of our sheep to me so he could sleep beside the warmth in our camp for a few hours. Yet there was an urgency to his utterance. Not exactly fear, or even excitement, but… something different caused me to move quickly toward his voice. As I approached him, I looked about at our sheep. Each one was on its feet, looking in one direction. I reached Daveed’s side and saw he was not watching my approach but was also staring into the sky.

I looked upward, noticing the night sky was not as dark as normal. Was it already morning? No, the light was coming from a star that was brighter than the rest and seemed to be pointing, almost touching the land a few miles away.

“Do you see what I see?” my son asked, reaching to touch my arm. I placed my hand on his shoulder, assuring him I had arrived by his side. I could not move my eyes to look at him. I, too, was mesmerized by the star.

Out of the star’s center something seemed to be moving quickly toward us and soon took on the shape of a man. I drew my son closer to my side and behind while feeling for the sling tucked into my sash. I sensed the restlessness of the sheep and knew they were gathering, huddling together, and trusting I would protect them.

“Do not be afraid.” I heard a crackling in the air and was astonished to understand the words the sound formed. The crackle continued. “I bring good news. The Messiah has come. He was born to a virgin girl, just a little way from here. If you seek him, you will find him wrapped in a simple blanket and sleeping in the hay of a manger.”

Suddenly, the sky burst with colour. Green, blue, purple, and red flickered from amongst the stars, dancing about while the crackling sound became lyrical tones. “Hosanna!” I heard the most beautiful music surround us, inviting us into the celebration.

The music and dancing lights gently faded as morning’s soft light began to dawn along the distant horizon. Still, we stood looking into the sky.

“Father, did you hear what I heard?” my son still whispered but my attention was finally able to move to him.

“Yes. Yes, I did. Our Saviour is born!”

Daveed’s eyes were twinkling like the stars we had seen dance through the sky. “Can we go see him?”

“Yes. Yes, of course we must! Why else would the angel have told us?”

We left the sheep, who had calmed and were laying in the field at peace. We ran to our camp.

“Grandfather,” Daveed called. “Grandfather wake up! We are going into Bethlehem.”

My father groaned from stiff muscles as he rolled over to look at us with bleary eyes.

“Will you come with us, Grandfather? You won’t believe what we are going to see!”

“Humph. Crowded streets, Romans counting us to know our people’s strength, and probably to steal our sheep for taxes. Tomorrow is soon enough for me. But you go ahead. I’m staying right here.”

Daveed was about to protest, but my look told him to respect his grandfather’s wishes. Obviously, he had slept through the whole amazing announcement, and besides, someone should stay with the flock.

“May I choose a lamb to offer to the King?” Daveed suggested.

“Yes. Yes, a good idea. Hurry, though.” 

With the unblemished lamb across his shoulders, Daveed skipped to keep up with my quick walk, but I did not wish to slow down. Soon we saw other shepherds moving toward the town. The boys, cousins from the same family line as us, of Jesse and David’s heritage, ran to one another.

“Did you see what we saw?” “Did you hear what we heard?” The excitement of the youth bubbled about.

I joined the other men for the walk into Bethlehem. We tried to contain our exuberance, choosing instead to speak of the Scriptures we had been made to learn before being allowed into the field to join the family business.

“Didn’t Isaiah say the Messiah would be born of a virgin?”
“Immanuel, God with us.”
“Micah said our King would come from Bethlehem. Imagine, our little town of Bethlehem!”
“The coming of the Messiah will change the world.”

The adult chatter soon became as chaotic and joyful as our sons' loud voices. We carried on over the hill and down into the town of Bethlehem to look for the baby the angels praised. I never imagined the Saviour of our people would arrive as a baby!


The popular Christmas song, “Do You Hear What I Hear” was written by Gloria Shayne Baker and her husband, Noel Regney, in 1962. Bing Crosby sang the song the next year, and many artists since, including Whitney Houston and Carrie Underwood, have performed this favourite since then. My favourite version is done by the accapella group, Home Free, recorded in 2014.

This song reminds me that my Saviour is coming so I need to be ready for his appearance, however that will look. I believe Scripture prophesies Jesus’ return as accurately as his birth. We need to learn the prophesies and watch for the signs, even though I am sure we will still be as surprised as the shepherds when He does come. Will you join me in the waiting and watching?

Do you see what I see?
Do you hear what I hear?


photos courtesy of CCO license,

In northern BC, Marnie Pohlmann listens to an assortment of Christmas music including classic, country, African, Celtic, and even The Benedictine Monks, who Chant Noel.


  1. I have always loved that song too, Marnie. Thanks for sweeping me away to that holy night.

  2. Your narrative is AMAZING@!!! Keep this somewhere safe for submission to SOMETHING! Merry Christmas friend!

  3. What a great story! I'm sure it happened more or less as you wrote it. And we all must remember that Christmas is only the beginning. It leads to the most amazing years of history and a changed world when Christ returns. I live for that wonderful day.

  4. Thanks for the lovely blending of a Christmas song and the shepherd's narrative/perspective.

  5. Beautiful, Marnie. Thanks for bringing this story and song to life. I too love “Do You Hear What I Hear?”


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