A hush fell over the land. Restful peace seemed to enter into every living creature
Wearily I settled on a large rock, next to an old tree. The bare branches allow the starry night to shine through, speckling the ground with darkened shadows.
What a long day! Two births and three lambs lost. I coursed through the brush and briars finding each one. The seasoned ewes cast their young effortlessly and safely. Now, thinking back over the day, I remind myself of things undone.
Thankfully the sun had heated this rock. It helps to stave off the chill of night. Soon, I’ll wrap myself in a woolen blanket. My rod and pack nearby, I munch on some dried meat and bread.
I rest my head against the tree and look up at the sky. The crystal light of suspended stars too numerous to count, shine and flicker. A milky swath flows though the middle, scattering light and sending it elsewhere. There seemed to be more stars, waiting, as if in anticipation of a great event.
I jerk awake; my hand on my staff ready to ward off the danger my spirit feels. Looking around as my eyes focus, I see no danger. It’s very bright out now almost daylight. I turn to look over my shoulder at the moon…..what is that?
Terrified, I look and there is a heavenly being! It must be an angel! What do I do? I fall to the earth shaking. The angel spoke to me and said “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left and gone back to heaven, I realize that this must be the fulfillment of the words of the scrolls in the temple. Is this the One whom I have waited for all this time? I will see Him in my lifetime?
I can feel the joy rising from the depth of my heart. Happiness flows out of my mouth in words of praise for God! Hallelujah!
What to do? I have to go to Bethlehem; it’s just over the hill. What about my sheep? I look at the peaceful flock and somehow assurance comes into my mind that they’ll be safe. Picking up my staff I start off and reach the top.
I cast another glance back, noticing no danger around them and then start down the slope to the town of Bethlehem. Coming upon another shepherd, I ask “Did you see what I saw?” “Yes!” he says excitedly. “Let’s go together into the town to find this baby but where in the town should we go?”
We look towards the town again and there is a star, bursting light forth. As we near, the star directs us past the inn that sits on the edge of town. We see a stable yard and look inside at other shepherds carefully approaching a small stable of animals.
We follow, not knowing how or why but ever seeking the child. Peering into the stable, we look and there was the Babe!
What joy and wonder I feel! The cry of the heavenly host still rings in my ears or is my heart hearing for the first time? All of us bow low and reverently gaze at the child that is our Savior. Even the animals seem to understand.
We turn and leave. With no anxiety about our sheep, we excitedly tell everyone about the wonders we had seen and all are amazed who heard. Leaving the other shepherd, I start back towards my flock.
I am not the same shepherd as when I left them. Something new is in my spirit. Hope has been restored and I am no longer alone. I know that I have a God who lives and cares about me, a lowly shepherd, to whom He revealed the promise of His Salvation.
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