How Christmas began, 5

WE MET THE BABY KING (Luke 2: 8-20)

It was a cold and starry night. Several of us huddled together for shelter and safety. We were shepherds. We guarded our flocks by night from larger animals like wolves and lions. It was a proud profession. Our great King David was a shepherd. From him we learned that it was dangerous to watch sheep alone. We were not as brave as David was when he faced a lion. But several of us deterred lions from attacking our sheep. We also had dogs that assisted us in watching. We felt quite safe and did not expect any diversions.

Our peaceful evening was abruptly interrupted by a vision. Out of nowhere a heavenly figure appeared before us. It was surrounded with lights full of glory – the kind we had never seen nor heard of. We did not have to be told that the being was an angel and that he had to come from the Lord. We became so frightened that we could hardly move. Before we had time to inquire what this was all about, the angel began to encourage us. He said, “Be not afraid. I bring you good news that all of the people will rejoice in. Today, in the town of David, a Savior was born for you. He is the Messiah and Lord. This is the evidence for you: you will find the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and laying in a manager.”

As soon as the angel had finished his announcement, a huge choir comprised of a heavenly host surrounded us and the angel began to direct and lead the choristers in the most glorious praise to God. The song itself was brief, but the repetition made it sound endless. The heavenly choristers repeated three lines in perfect harmony. The words were: “Glory be to God in the Highest! On earth, let there be peace. The Lord has bestowed his favor on man.”

After the heavenly choir with its director ascended heavenward, we began to ask each other what we should do? One of us suggested that we go to Bethlehem and see for ourselves whether the angel was right? We all agreed. We did not even think of our sheep. We all behaved as if we were in a different world. The message of the angel and the heavenly choir kept on ringing in our ears. Our feet carried us swiftly down into the town of Bethlehem. We had no trouble at all finding the place because it was one of our stables. It was one of our animals that had given up its crib for the Savior of our people. Just as the angel had told us, we found a mother, a father and a tiny “Baby Boy” wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a crib. Our hearts were filled with excitement and wonder. We began to astound the people with our message; not the parents that seemed to know how special their child was, but those that were already admiring the baby boy. The excitement grew when we told them that angels had told us who the new arrival was. We were the first to proclaim that this “Baby” was the “King of Israel” and that He would redeem His people. It seemed, to us, that those who heard what we were saying were more amazed at us than at our message. After all, we were only shepherds. Why would the Lord announce such an important event to us and not to the learned scholars and Priests of the people? If He had announced it to the leaders first, would they have believed His angel as we did?