Christmas Eve is the time of the year when the Christmas story is the most real to me. I remember as a child riding home from my grandparents’ Christmas Eve celebration and looking up at the sky searching for Santa’s sleigh. They lived in the country away from the lights of our town and the stars would show up really well. With all of the stars so bright, it made me wonder how bright a star would need to be for the wise men to notice it as special. I thought of the images on the Christmas cards showing the wise men following a gigantic star that you couldn’t help but notice.
I also remember that it was usually cold on Christmas Eve. I would think of what it would be like to be a shepherd sitting out in a field. I thought about how much I disliked being in the cold just walking between my grandparents’ house and our car in their driveway. I could also imagine what it would be like to be approached by angels. Looking at it now, I think about angels that are portrayed by beautiful young women in white robes. I also think out the terrifying images of angels from the Book of Revelation. Regardless of how the angels looked, it would have been a shock to see them.
I think about what the angels told the shepherds. Beyond the flowery language of the King James Version of the Bible, they were basically saying that an important baby was born and you need to go worship him. Babies are born every day. What makes this one so special? When they got to the stable, were they disappointed? Think about what they saw. They were told they were going to see a king. You might expect to see something that was impressive. Who could be impressed by a baby that looked pretty much like every other baby? The surroundings must have been impressive. But this environment was less impressive than what you would normally see. I thought about the barns that I had been in where animals are kept. There is the mixture of the smell of animal food and poop. This seems to be a terrible place to keep a newborn baby much less have one born there. Especially compared to the antiseptic look and smell of modern hospitals like the ones where my children were born.
There is nothing about a newborn baby in a barn that’s impressive enough for me to want to tell anyone. If I told anyone, I would tell them about how pitiful the situation was. But that’s not what the shepherds did. The scripture tells us that when they saw the baby, they were moved to tell everyone about what the angels told them about this child. What were they told? That this child was a Messiah and Savior. The scripture tells us that the people that heard the shepherds where “amazed”. I can’t help but think that I would have been skeptical. There is so much about this story that is less than impressive. It’s unbelievable. Nevertheless, I believe.
Singer, Songwriter, Entertainer, Storyteller