Are you on information overload? It’s not surprising. We are bombarded constantly with news, continuously processing what we take in from newspapers, radio, television and now the global Internet. Today’s news is old news, pushed aside
by fresh news almost instantaneously.
There is one story that refuses to fade into the sunset and continues to defy time – the birth of a baby wrapped in cloth and laid in a manger in a small town called Bethlehem. By today’s technological standards, we would consider those times archaic. But as it turned out, there were news broadcasters present for this momentous event – and that is the rest of the story.
There were simple, devout shepherds watching over their flocks in fields outside Bethlehem. Possibly they were catching up on the local gossip while taking turns watching for predators or thieves endangering their sheep.
Let’s try to put ourselves in
the sandals of these shepherds, looking at the Bible’s Book of Luke:
IT’S JUST ANOTHER ordinary night, the sky bright with stars. Possibly we were discussing the people crowding Bethlehem who had come from far and wide for the census and to pay taxes.
Suddenly the starry sky changes in an instant. The light becomes brighter. As we stare upwards, an “angel of the Lord appears to (us) and the glory of the Lord shines around (us), and (we) were terrified.”
In that split-second, there is complete and sheer terror. There’s no time to comprehend what was happening – our bodies are trembling, our hearts pounding. We feel an urge to run and hide. Surely this is not good!
Then the angel spoke: “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Our fear and shock turn to amazement while our minds still want to deny what was happening to us. As if to produce further evidence that this was God’s angel, the heavens open and a chorus of angels join the primary angel praising God and singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
When the angels were gone and the night sky returned to normal, still shaking in our sandals, we talk about all that had happened. We decide to go to Bethlehem “to see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Investigative reporters?
We find Joseph and Mary at the stable and the baby Jesus lying in a manger, just as the angel had told us. We share our wondrous experience with Joseph and Mary while gazing upon this special child, for “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Excited by all that had happened to us and seeing the baby Jesus, we run through Bethlehem’s streets telling all whom we meet about this event – “and all who heard it were amazed.” I suspect a few are thinking we shepherds are crazy. Drawn back to our sheep, we are “glorifying and praising God for all the things (we) had seen, which were just as (we) had been told.” Our lives are changed forever by the miracle of a baby’s birth.
THE SHEPHERDS were God’s reporters, and in a few hours this miraculous event was broadcast throughout Bethlehem. The
people from afar would return to their towns and villages and spread the news of this wondrous event.
If this event happened today
instead of 2,000 years ago, would
it have been front-page news? I don’t think it would. Perhaps it would have been published as a short paragraph under “Strange or odd events” with reference to “seeing things” in Bethlehem.
Each year, we celebrate and rejoice at Christ’s birth, reminding us that our Savior lives even now and continues to point the way for all mankind to the biblical Creator-God.
His purpose and plan is recorded in His Word, The Bible – an eternal history, past, present and future.
Good news indeed!
Have a blessed Christmas.
(The author is a freelance writer in Aiken, S.C.)