Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Wow! (03/11/10)
TITLE: A Thousand Angels Singing
By Kathleen Tollifson
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“You would have missed her too much.” Matthew laughed, trying to dispel the fatigue and tension they all felt. “She’s the only one that understands you.” The other boys laughed too, but Jobeth didn’t mind. Months in the hills outside the city, tending the flocks, had knit them together into a family of sorts.
“I’m going to get some sleep,” Jobeth said, throwing a scrap of meat from his pouch to his favorite mongrel. As he turned to crawl into his little tent, his eyes fell on the biggest man he had ever seen. He gasped and froze like a statue; he was so afraid. Rays of light were shining all around the stranger, as bright as the noon day sun. Jobeth could see his friends from the corner of his eye. They had fallen face down on the ground.
“Fear not.” The booming voice echoed through the surrounding hills. Jobeth was shivering and his eyes blinked, trying to adjust to the intense brightness that surrounded them. “I bring you good tidings of great joy, for to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” (Lu 2: 10-12)
Suddenly the quiet evening exploded into the sound of a thousand angels singing. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased!” As the simple shepherd boys looked on, the windows of heaven opened. The heavenly hosts descended from their station in the invisible realm to join the very large angel who had made the announcement of the coming of the Prince of Peace. The boys were filled with awe.
As suddenly as it had begun, the heavenly encounter came to an end. The first to speak was Matthew. “Wow, what was that?”
“Jobeth jumped to his feet. “Come on, let’s go into Bethlehem and see this thing that the angels have told us. Hurry!”
Oddly, no one objected. They gathered their food pouches and secured the gate to the sheeps’ pen, then set out for the city to find the baby lying in a manger. By this time it was after midnight, and the sky was again a deep starless blue. They did not depend on a natural light for their quest, as their steps were directed by an inner light that burned brightly. Entering the dark streets of Bethlehem, they were surprised that many people were still walking about. They remembered that the emperor had called for a census, and pushed through the crowds. Soon they stopped before a run-down barn behind the Traveler’s Inn.
“This is it.” Jobeth felt an assurance that he could not explain. He could see a faint light from inside the barn and tapped lightly on the weathered plank of the door. It slowly swung open, as if an invisible hand was pushing on it. Looking warily at one another, the boys walked into the barn.
There in a humble stall they found a man and a young girl kneeling beside a manger of rough hewn aged wood. Her gaze never left the tiny infant lying in the manger, swaddled in white cloths. The shepherd boys fell quiet and tiptoed into the stall to see the child.
‘This is the one we have been waiting for,” Jobeth said. “We have seen the Glory of God. Let us go tell all who will listen.” And they did.
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