We were sitting around our small fire that night swapping yarns as usual. The hillside was draped with the living wool factories that were our very lives. The steady hum of murmured conversation began to be punctuated with lengthy lulls as the sheep settled down and sleep claimed us one by one.
Confession they say is good for the soul. Some of us screamed like children when that light burst upon us! One moment it was dark except for the twinkling stars overhead. The next instant the heavens were ablaze with the light of a thousand suns. Suddenly, a powerful voice rang out.
And with those two words our natural terror subsided to be replaced with an excitement we had never known! Oh, we had all been saying maybe this could be the year of Messiah's appearing. But we had been hoping and praying for so many years, no one really believed much anymore. We just said what we thought we were expected to say as Jewish people. Imagine our shock when that incredible Voice announced the birth of Messiah that very night! And wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, of all places! Now that's our kind of Messiah!
Later we were nearly overcome with joy as we crowded into that tiny barn to see our newborn King.
He won our hearts that night so long ago with his humility and simplicity. Maybe that's why we were so eager to hear His gracious words years later when He finally started preaching and teaching.
We are all getting on up in years now. But we still remember that powerful moment when God let us know the Savior had been born a common man...one of us.
Crucified but resurrected three days later, He told us He had to go back to His Father. But before He left us that day on the Mount of Olives, He said He would return. He mentioned we wouldn't know exactly when but that He would surely return. Even after all these years we still hold onto that promise.
"Even so Lord Jesus, come quickly!"
Richard Orrell, Pastor