“Then an angel of the Lord stood before the shepherds, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” Luke 2:1-20 NRSV
So far, it had been a normal day in the fields. Sure, a few of the flock attempted to wander off, but as seasoned shepherds, they simply expected some of that. The quietness of the night began to envelope them, and the flocks had finally settled in for an evening in the fields. As the night droned on, the shepherds kept watch for anything that might threaten the flock. Little did they know that they were about to play a significant role in the life of the world. Little did they know who was coming into the world and how they would help to bring that message to others. After all, they were simple shepherds that played no significant role in the life of society. Why should they expect anything amazing to happen to them?!
Suddenly, as they sat with their flock, a mysterious messenger appeared before them. They shrank backwards from this being that was now in front of them. Fear seized them. They couldn’t move – much less protect the flock. And then, the whole, amazing truth was spoken by an angel of the Lord. “Do not be afraid; for see — I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11 NRSV). Continue reading
On Christmas Eve and again this morning, we read from the Gospel of John about the mystery of the incarnation. We do not get the pleasure of hearing the tale that is so often counted upon during the Christmas season. The appointed readings do not include the story from Luke that recounts Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem, the words of the innkeeper directing them to a stable for the evening, or of the angel that visits the shepherds cowering in a field while receiving the news of the birth of Christ. We are left without the ability to wonder what thoughts may have gone through Mary’s mind at the birth of her son; we do not get the story that leads us into the human aspects of the beginning. Continue reading