In that region, there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see–I am brining 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.
December 19, 2011
O Holy Night is my favorite Christmas song. Each time I hear it I can just picture what the scene was like in the field with all the shepherds and the angels of God. How the sky must have lit up, what glory and splendor these shepherds saw and how much their lives changed after this encounter. How wonderful for the Shepherd’s arrival to be announced to the shepherds in the field.
Imagine this: the shepherds are in the field taking care of their sheep who they most likely put down for the night. They are keeping watch and making sure that no wild animal attacks them. The sheep are asleep and safe. Perhaps they are done with dinner and deciding who will take the first watch, when all of a sudden a huge angel is before them and their jaws drop open. The angel tells them not to fear. I wonder, do the angels snicker when they appear before us? Do they chuckle when they see the air escape quickly from our bodies? Scripture doesn’t tell us that, we just know that they tell those they appear before not to fear them. Then the angel goes on to tell them about the birth of Jesus. How’s that for a birth announcement!
Then just because one angel didn’t kill them with fright, a whole host of angels appear before them in the sky. Can you imagine that? Try as I might I can’t. I mean I think I can try, but to really understand what that looked like you would have to had been there. We weren’t, we just get to read about it. So we read that the sky was filled with angels who were all praising God. Marvelous, too marvelous for words, is all I can say about this.
On this night God became Man and entered this world exactly as we did, through our mother’s womb. God stepped down from His throne and chose to be with us, Emmanuel. On that night God surrendered Himself into the arms of a teenage girl. It is no wonder that those angels were there in the sky singing His praises. Never before have they ever seen God do what He has just done in order to save those who reject Him. These are the angels who saw 1/3 of them fall from heaven, and now they see God going to this extreme not to lose any of us.
On this Holy Night, the night that Christ was born, the angels filled the skies because for the first time God became Man so that man can be with God. This is how much He loves us. The angels saw that love He had for us and they came down to rejoice with us. Christmas is less than one week away, and sometimes we get so caught up in the shopping, the wrapping, the baking, the cooking and all the other preparations that we lose sight of what exactly it is we celebrate.
On Christmas Eve before you go to bed, do me a favor and read this passage by the light of your Christmas tree and just let the glory of that moment seep deep into you. Me? Well, after I read it I will listen to O Holy Night sung by Celine Dion. There is just something about that song that allows me to drift to that night so I can be in the field with the shepherds, and I can look up and see the Host of Heaven rejoicing for the Savior is born. Then I can drift off to sleep because I know this is how much my God loves me, and I can sleep in heavenly peace.