Singing and rocking Laura to sleep is without a doubt one of my absolute favorite jobs each day. I always sing Jesus songs or hymns to her every night. Tonight as I was rocking, singing, and thinking about our long day, I started wondering about the angels that visited the shepherds the night Jesus was born. They probably popped into my head because Laura got her Little Peoples’ Nativity set from her Aunt Mollie today and she was infatuated with pressing the angel on top so “Away in a Manger” would play. I’ve got the angels’ visit on my mind!
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “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.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” -Luke 2:8-15
I can somewhat imagine how peaceful and still it was outside of Bethlehem while the shepherds were doing their every day tasks. I grew up in Michigan and went to college in rural Minnesota; I’ve seen my fair share of still, star-filled skies! But then a single angel came to them, an actual angel, sent by God.
I can’t even imagine what the shepherds were thinking. I would have been terrified most likely. I’m a reason-it-out kind of girl and this would have been way too much for me to take in. Overwhelmed doesn’t cover it. But the angel comforted them saying, “Do not be afraid.” Amazing that God even accounted for their fear when He sent his messengers.
Then as if one angel wasn’t amazing enough, a whole company of angels appeared. Incredible. I wonder what they looked like. I wonder what they sounded like. Many writers and artists have their interpretations. And I can’t help but think about how far beyond their descriptions the sight and sounds of that night were.
One of my favorite Christmas hymns describes the angels singing their message:
Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight
Glories stream from heaven afar
Heavenly hosts sing Alleluia!
Christ, the Savior is born!
Christ, the Savior is born!
This is the Stable is one of my favorite children’s picture books. (Seriously, if you have littles, you should buy this book by Cynthia Cotten.) This book has beautiful artwork. There is the scene with the shepherds and angels that when I would read it to my students, they would “Ooo” and “Ahh!”
I wish I would’ve been there. That’s what I can’t stop thinking when I sing these hymns or read books like that one. What an awe-inspiring, life-changing experience with which God blessed those meek shepherds. But then again, He does the same for us. The words of the Bible, the description God gives, is incredible. Just finding myself in a quiet moment really, truly for the first time thinking about this part of Jesus’ birth and I am in awe, filled with wonder, joy, and absolute peace. It makes me want to run and tell everyone just like the shepherds did. Maybe that’s why I wanted to write this out…to get someone else pondering the glory surrounding the birth of our Savior.
Dear Father in heaven,
Thank you for quiet moments. Thank you for the gift of Your word. Forgive me for not stopping and pondering Jesus’ birth more often. Give me more still moments where I can be in awe of Your glory. Keeping preparing my heart for Christmas through hearing and reading Your word.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.