O, Holy night, the stars are brightly shining
Breathtaking and intense with twinkling stars decorating the heavens, I sat on the hillside listening to the bleeping of my flock. My staff lay across my lap crossing my left arm as I tapped it to get the attention of the small straying lambs.
It was cool almost bitter but not still. But even so, I sensed nothing unusual about it. One of the mares had strayed and gotten stuck in the mud hole near the edge of a water spring so, now I sit resting from the exhausting struggle.
This has been an unusual week of weary travelers passing through on their way to the city of Jerusalem to take the census. It seemed everyone was excited and not a family was unaffected. The nearby towns were all filled with visiting families and passers by.
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth
As I lay my head back on a small patch of grass to catch a quick doze, I was suddenly awakened by an intensely imitating light and the sense of a presence that consumed me. Then I heard a voice and looked and saw the angel standing before me. I began to shake and tried to call out to my brothers who were a short distance away watching the flock from the front of the pack. But there was no need. They came stumbling quickly as they saw the angel across the way. We fell to our knees in shear terror unable to utter a sound.
Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices
When suddenly the angel spoke,
“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[a ] the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
My heart beat so fast I could hardly contain it. I first thought it a dream. But what happened next removed any doubt of God’s messenger’s appearance. The sky opened up and there before me and my brothers appeared a great company of heavenly beings with the heavenly angel. My ears were filled with their chants of praise to God as they said,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Unable to comprehend yet afraid not to believe our ears and eyes, we saw the host return to the heavens as they had come. And they were gone.
My youngest brother spoke first, “am I going mad or did we see the same vision?”
I spoke immediately, “no, it was no evil we saw, it was the promise fulfilled. God’s promise of a Savior. Let’s go right away to Bethlehem.”
We didn’t waste a moment. We left the sheep where they were and hurried without thought of food or provisions for the short journey.
We arrived in Bethlehem late that evening. We walked through the city with people on every corner, hurrying about, selling and shouting…some cooking, others eating.
But we were not swayed from our aim. We searched the inns and finally meet an old innkeeper that said a couple had just arrived and were seeking shelter, for the woman was great with child and expected to deliver that very night. With that bit of news we rushed to the location in which he pointed. As we left I was astonished and dismayed at the innkeepers words that they were unable to find shelter and had been sent outside to a shed for the animals in back.
But as we scurried to the place, we knew we had reached our destination before our eyes were satisfied. There above the stable was a bright light, a shinning star that shown over the very place where the couple and the babe rested.
O night divine, O night when Christ was born, O night divine, O night divine
Holy, wondrous, beautiful! My hands began to sweat and my heart rhythm excelled as I realized our Lord is here, none so precious, what a magnificent site.
The moment was so powerful yet filled with astonishing peace, our expectations were satisfied with the vision of our long awaited Savior.
We could only sit in awed reverence at his feet and watch as his mother Mary and her husband Joseph kept watch as the child lay asleep in a manger filled with hay.
There was no one else around but the couple and the animals. After sitting with Mary, Joseph and the babe they called Jesus, we blessed them and bid our good-bye’s. I was so filled that I was unable to rest. I wanted to spread the word and let the world know that our soon coming King had come.
So, we agreed and headed back to the city and begin to share with all who would listen of our Savior and Lord. And the people were amazed at the shepherd’s story as they glorified and praised God.