“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace and good will toward men. ”Oh. that today the human family could recognize that song! The declaration then made, the note then struck, will swell to the close of time, and resound to the ends of the earth. When the Son of Righteousness shall arise with healing in His wings, that song will be re-echoed by the voice of a great multitude, as the voice of many waters, saying “Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” Revelation 19:6
Little is told of heaven and what was going on while the Angels eagerly waited to see God's plan unfold, but we can imagine. As Angels accompany Mary and Joseph on their journey the time was near. While heaven fills with rejoicing, the Angels ask God, is it time? Can we announce the birth of your Son? While Angels watch from heaven an innumerable throng of Angels have gone ahead, gathering above the hills of Bethlehem, waiting for the signal to declare the news to the world. They watched with excitement, hoping to find everyone waiting with the same joy, to receive Jesus. Yet so many were wrapped up in their own lives that they had forgotten the long-awaited promise. Oh, the joy that filled the Angels that night at the first cry from Jesus. It was time and God sent them to sing of the news to whomever they could find.
It was a colder night as the seasons began to shift. I loved looking after our flock making sure they were always cared for. Between my fellow shepherds in our sheep, we had all become a family.
“Make sure to put extra logs on tonight James,” I told one of the shepherds. “We need to stay warm and alert through the night.”
“John,” one of our youngest shepherds spoke up. “Can you share the story of the promised King we're waiting for?”
This had been a story we have shared down through generations. A savior will come and lead us out of our iniquities and save us from this world of sin. Daily my fellow shepherds and I pray we will not miss that moment and that we’ll be ready when it happens. As we circled the fire, we began to share stories we had grown up with. As we talked a bright light appeared before us descending from the sky. We watched in fear, especially when it began to speak. “Fear not, for behold I bring tidings of great joy.”
Now mind you, I have been around a long time and have heard of Angels visiting my ancestors in the past but to see one myself, oh that’s different. An Angel sent by God to a lowly Shepherd? We are not considered highly esteemed in the world's eyes. Our jobs hold no prestige, why would an Angel visit us? As the Angel spoke, I felt the fear in my heart turn to joy.
Could this be true? Has the promised King finally come? I wonder what he'll be like. A mighty warrior like Joshua or a King like King David? Maybe he'll be strong like Samson or wise like King Solomon. Oh, who am I kidding? This is God's Son; he'll be a mix of them all.
“You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a Manger,” the Angel continued.
He what? He's a baby? I thought there had to be some kind of a mistake. How was a baby going to free God's people? But before I could speak the skies filled with a host of Angels singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”
It was such a glorious sight to see and I felt the presence of God around me. My fellow shepherds and I knelt before the Angels praising God for his fulfilled promise. Even though a baby, I believed God had His reasons and a plan. As quickly as the Angels came, they were gone, and the night fell dark once again.
“Well,” our youngest shepherd spoke. “What are we waiting for? Let's go find him.”
One quick look at each other and we all nodded in agreement. Onward to Bethlehem to find the Son of God. We knew the hour was late, but our excitement overtook our senses, and we began asking around for news of a baby. After a little bit of a search, we soon found him lying in a Manger. Not a baby manger, but a rough feeding trough for the animals. My heart was sad when I thought about the way our Savior was brought into this world. There was no rejoicing in the streets, no joyous news being spread among everyone. How could so many have missed this moment? But when baby Jesus looked up at me and smiled, peace filled my heart. Those were the eyes of the King who would one day save us all.
I barely got the story out to Mary and Joseph of what happened to us and how we found them before Joseph was praising God for yet another miracle. As we knelt quietly before the baby, I felt bad that I was not rich enough to offer a gift to Him but then in the quiet stillness our young Shepherd began playing on his makeshift drum. Pa rum pum pum. I have no gifts to bring but I can play for you …. As Mary nodded, we joined in singing as baby Jesus cooed.
“Come on Timothy,” I rested my hand on our young shepherd. “Let’s go share this wonderful news. You play while we talk.”
Leaving this stable that night a new hope and a new peace filled my heart. Our Savior has come, and we had the opportunity to be a part of this special night.
The glory of God the shepherds had seen the night Jesus was born has become a beacon to the faithful all over the world. God’s sign to all mankind that His promised Salvation was both a light in the sky and a light in the minds and hearts of all who heard the news and believed. The Son of God was a new light that would forever change mankind. Jesus was born that night to be the one true light to guide our lives … then, now, and forever. Let us not be so caught up in our everyday lives forgetting the promise of our Savior that He will come again to save us all, that we miss the host of Angels just waiting over the hill saying, “Is it time Jesus, can we go get your children?”
Stay tuned for the wise men story on Monday.