A shepherd’s Christmas story
Let me introduce us. Me and Elias are shepherds right outside Bethlehem. We ain’t normally very welcome in town cause shepherds aren’t kindly regarded by most townfolk. They consider us to be unclean since we walk where sheep walk and sleep where sheep sleep. That prejudice all seems sorta strange to us since King David was a shepherd as a kid, and he even said that the Lord was his shepherd. So we ain’t ashamed; we enjoy tending to our flock. They’re our little pets; we care about them and want to protect them.
What we’re telling you about is one of the most unbelievable nights we ever spent. It was dark as pitch so we had a little fire glowing up there on our watchtower. That way we could see the whole flock and be aware of any dangers that might appear. Elias was quite a bit older and wiser— he seemed like a father to me, so I was really glad to have him around on those dark nights. To help while away them long nights we often talked about old prophesies about our new king that would be born right over there in Bethlehem. We tried to imagine when that might happen and what he would be like.
Anyway, on that particular night, Elias was playin’ softly on a little flute that he had made with his own hands. It seemed to sooth the flock. And I must admit it was soothed me too. Then, all of a sudden from out of nowhere, this man appeared right there on the tower with us. His whole body was lit up like a candle. It scared me to death! It must have showed, so he told us not to be afraid. He said it in such a way that it calmed our nerves. Then he went on to tell us why he was there. He told us that right over there in Bethlehem, King David’s hometown, the savior that the prophets talked about had finally actually been born. That little baby was right there for all to see!
He must have known that we would leave our flock and rush right over there to see him as fast as our legs would carry us. So he told us how we could find him. He evidently knew we were familiar with the area where the animals were kept, so he told us that we would find the little baby in the manger. I would imagine that the warmest, softest place in that whole outside area would be snuggled up on a bed of hay. Then he went on to tell us that we could recognize him cause he would be all wrapped up in swaddling clothes.
And, as if that were not enough to convince us, that angel was suddenly surrounded by a bunch more angels just like him, and they were all saying in unison, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!” Can you just imagine? There we were, surrounded by a whole host of angels, just like him, giving glory to our newborn king. It was absolutely awesome! Then as suddenly as they came, they were gone. It was an experience I’ll sure never forget.