Summary: A shepherd tells the story of the most remarkable night of his life.
That was a night! I can remember it like it was yesterday. It was a cold night up on the hills, and a bit windy. Not really full on winter, but not a nice night to be sleeping under the stars. Even us Shepherds look forward to a nice warm bed you know, not that we get to sleep in one that often. There were five of us, or was it six, its a long time ago. Anyway there we were sitting together between a few rocks, trying to keep out of the wind, and keep a bit of warmth so that we could get some sleep. I’d just nodded off when someone switched a light on. There it was, this kind of person with wings, just sort of hanging there.
No don’t look at me like that – its not one of them UFO stories – we don’t have time to worry about them – this really happened – it did! There were five of us, or was it six, – we all saw it – the same thing – just there in the air – above our heads almost. It was glowing – not bright like the sun, so you couldn’t look at it – more like a giant candle but the flame had no bright bit in the middle, but there was light all around too – not like the day time, cause it was still dark everywhere else.
Anyway we’d have all been behind the rocks, but we were in the middle of nowhere and the rocks were just about big enough to sleep against, not really big enough to hide us so we just kind of froze to the spot. Funny thing was the sheep didn’t even notice, just kept grazing and bleating like normal.
Anyway we got our breath back and old Joseph said "That’s an Angel that is".
"Do not be afraid" he (or should that be she, or it? - I don’t know – not that it matters, so I’ll keep saying ’he’ cause it sounds right somehow.). So anyway "do not be afraid" he said. Talk about asking the impossible. We don’t scare easy you know, we have to fight great big bears, and chase off wolves and all if we’re gonna keep the sheep safe, but we’d never seen the like of that before and we didn’t know what it wanted – he wanted. Probably us, not the sheep – they were still eating – its what they do best.
"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people" he said. Well it would have to be for everyone for us to get to hear about it. They don’t tell us anything when we go down into town, in fact they do their level best to keep well clear of us. You’d think we were lepers sometimes, or thieves and murderers perhaps. So we don’t find out what’s going on, and were not allowed in the temple either, so we don’t even get to hear the notices. One day they’ll invent CNN, then there won’t be any need for angels scaring the living daylights out of people.
But we do know enough, ’cause we’re not stupid. We know the scriptures, we know all about angels and the different forms they take, we hear the stories of how God used to talk us Jews – they teach all the children all of those stories. That was hundreds of years ago, but we upset him somehow and he hasn’t sent any of his messengers for getting on for 20 generations – that’s a long time. So an angel now was something special – but there wasn’t any time for us to decide which of us was the next prophet. God was speaking to us –all five, or was it six, its a long time ago. God was speaking to us – just us after all this time. Well that’s how it looked, of course, he’d been speaking to lots of other people and doing lots of other things to, but we didn’t know that then.
Alright I’ll get to the news, cause I know you want to hear it.
"Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign a to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
He spoke to us in Greek, but that didn’t matter we all knew what it meant.
Messiah is here!
Here, now, in our lifetime,. My old granddad used to say that we’d had our last chance, that we failed God so often he’d given up on us. Well its true, we have failed God, more times than I can count, but he’s never forgotten us. He made us see, and he chose us, and he loves us, and if my old granddad didn’t give up on me I can’t see how God could give up on us. Well, yes I can – cause we can be awful always fighting and killing and stealing.