Angels and Shepherds

It was one of those crisp and clear nights, where the stars shimmered against a black and endless sky, and the cold air made the skin on your face numb. As we watched over our masters sheep, protecting them from hungry predators, we sat around a small fire, thankful for the warmth it provided. The stories and laughter we shared were punctuated with long stretches of silence, as we stared at the flames or watched the column of smoke as it drifted up and away into the darkness.

All of a sudden, there was a brilliant light, so bright that even our shadows fled from our side. We were terrified! There, standing right in front of us, was an angel… a messenger from heaven. The dull glow from our small fire had been replaced by the very Glory of God!

Don’t be afraid! Listen to what I am about to tell you. I bring you good news. News of great joy. News that will affect people everywhere. This very day, in the city of David, a savior has been born. He is the Anointed One… the One promised from long ago. You will know when you have found him when you see him. He will be wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a feeding trough.”

As soon as the words had come out of his mouth, the air was filled with the sound of a thousand voices and the stars were blocked out by a vast host of angels – the armies of heaven – as they sang praises to God…

To the highest heights of the universe, glory to God! And on earth, peace among all people who bring pleasure to God!

And then just like that, they were gone. We were speechless, and for a long moment we stood there looking up into the night sky.

I don’t remember who suggested it first…

“Quickly! Let us go into Bethlehem to see for ourselves what we have just been told.”

… but we left the sheep where they were and ran all the way into town as quickly as our legs would carry us. After a bit of searching, we finally found what we were looking for. There, in the corner of a stable, surrounded by a few sheep and donkeys, was a newborn baby boy. His mother and father were sitting close by, watching over him as he slept and just as the angel had said, he was wrapped in strips of cloth and was lying in a feeding trough.

All the next day, everyone who heard the story of what we had experienced, and of what the messenger of God had told us about this child, was astonished.

Later that day, we left Bethlehem and returned to the sheep. We couldn’t stop praising God for all that we had seen and heard. Everything that His messenger had told us was true… and we had seen it with our own eyes.

Meanwhile, back in Bethlehem, Mary too was praising God. She couldn’t stop thinking about the events of the past few days and she treasured the memory of them in her heart.

Take a moment to reflect on the story you have just read.
(sometimes it is helpful to read it again, slowly)

*Was there something in this story that you discovered—or thought about—for the first time?
*As you think about the story, what questions do you have? What do you wonder about?
*How might this story change your perspective / beliefs / behaviors?

I would love to hear what you are discovering as you think through these questions.
Comments are moderated to ensure they are relevant to the story and questions above.

~ Christmas Story Collection ~

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