NOTE: This narrative is based in scripture and imagined by fiction. It’s the Christmas story as told by those who were closest to it. Please read accordingly.
The Last Voice of Christmas
A shepherd knows some things: peace of mind, serenity of soul and moments of divine presence. He knows about new life coming into the world. He is acquainted with extreme heat, bitter cold, and the pain of loneliness. He suffers through sleepless nights.
He fends off predators, both animal and human. He mends injuries, treats illness, and grieves over death. He worries about leaving his flock so he can search for a lost lamb.
He is the pastor of his sheep, and the Lord is his shepherd.
ONE NIGHT: It was a silent night, a holy night, when the stars were brighter and the air was crisp and cold. A few of us huddled around a small fire when suddenly an angel appeared in light so brilliant that it hurt our eyes.
He came to give good news of great joy, that a savior had been born, that Emanuel had come to help the people. He said that the infant king was only a short distance away and that God has chosen us to see him. Then, we fell to our knees as the night sky exploded in splendor with the angelic host praising God’s name.
SEARCHED: We left our flocks to go and find him, and we did, and not in a Jerusalem palace but a Bethlehem stable. We were confused by his birthplace, that the newly arrived Messiah would be so low born. The stable smelled worse than we did, which is saying a lot since shepherds reek of sheep smell.
We were surprised that his mother was so young, barely of age to marry, and even then was only betrothed to a young man from Nazareth. But Mary and Jospeh shared their story, telling us how Gabriel approached them and all that he said. It was thrilling.
We left the stable praising God for all we had seen and heard. As we joined our flocks we remembered the prophecies, that the Messiah would not appear kingly, or be recognized as special. He came to give good news to the poor, to bind the brokenhearted, and to set the captives free. He came to forgive the sins. He would need to come from among us.
His ministry, purpose and compassion will be extraordinary, but he won’t be. He won’t be adorned in royal robes or ride in golden carriages, instead he will walk the dusty roads of Palestine. He began in a stable, and speaking symbolically, he will never leave it.
GRACE: It was a night of nights and beyond special, it was incredible. We had been granted the amazing gift of amazing grace.
It was a silent night, a holy night. A night for God to come near.
May the nations rejoice at his birth, for it was most merry.
Merry Christmas and thank you for sharing this journey with me.