Glory to God In the Highest

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 0 Comments A+ a-

This was originally posted in December of 2007.

It was a dark night; there were fewer stars out tonight, hence less light to do his job. He looked out among the herd, mentally calculating the number of sheep. He smiled to himself, they were all there; he could relax once again. The glow of the fire highlighted the faces of the other men with him; some were dozing, trying to rest as they awaited their next rotation; others were warming their hands, rubbing them over and over as they chatted amongst themselves; and still others were keeping a wary eye over the herd. They had sent Cephas out to walk the perimeter, to ensure that a predator wasn't hiding among the hills or bushes, ready to snatch a wayward lamb.

He was a man of few words; conversation was rarely needed for the job he did. He bent down to scratch dirt-encrusted calves, wincing with each movement. He was tired, that was certain; they'd been out here for weeks and he'd almost reached his patience threshold. He was ready for a warm bath, a good night's sleep, and freshly-laundered clothes, but these would have to wait. Instead he turned his attention back to the herd and the black night. Again, he smiled. His might not be the most coveted of jobs but he enjoyed the stillness, the quiet the job brought. Not to mention the beauty of the night landscape. Off in the distance, the town of Bethlehem stood on a hill; various lamps and lights dotting the horizon. It was beautiful out here and he'd learned to enjoy such simple views.

Suddenly, in the distance, he heard a horn; a sound unlike anything he'd ever heard before. He glanced around the men, to see if they had heard it too, or to see if he really was losing his mind. Even the men that had been sleeping had risen to their feet, looking around to find what had woken them. There! The horn sounded off again. He searched the dark sky to see what was giving such melodious music. And then before his very eyes, there shone a bright light. He shielded his eyes, wondering how day had arrived so suddenly, where moments ago night still covered them. He could hear some of the men cowering on the ground, begging for their lives, asking Yahweh to save them. He was half-tempted to join them, this was unlike anything he'd ever experienced before. Then the sky was filled beautiful music, the words drifted over him.

"Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King!"

He fell to his knees as the sky filled with a heavenly choir. Angels, dozens of them, spread across the horizon; their light so bright he could barely look at them without his eyes burning. To the left and the right, angels stood with horns; their long, drawn-out notes punctuating each word.

"Joy to the earth; the Savior reigns!"

Who were these beings?! It was obvious that God had send this heavenly host, but why to sheep herders? What had he done to deserve such news, or to see such sights? He was humbled to his very core. An angel stepped forward, away from the others and came close to the men.

Don’t be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger."

And with a final verse, a final truimphant blast of the horn, day returned to night and the men were left to talk amongst themselves. As the rest of them debated about what what they had seen and what they should do; he found himself too awed, too thunderstruck to join in. What had just happened here was nothing short of miracle. He heard a shout in the distance and turned to watch Cephas tripping over himself to reach the others.

"Did you see that?" he asked of the other herders. "Did you see that beautiful choir?"

Yes, they shook their heads; some still unbelieving what their eyes had seen. Cephas turned his head and with wide eyes asked, "What should we do?"

The herder came to his feet, grabbed his staff, and announced, "We go! We find this babe, the savior of the world and we rejoice!" With his announcement, he turned toward Bethlehem. As the men scrambled to join him on the trek, he smiled to himself. Never had his heart felt so light, so happy, so... so... so full of joy! A savior had been born! His Savior! What wonderful news for all the earth.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

I’m a coffee drinking, book reading, laundry procrastinating, husband and children loving, mess of a woman who believes that chips and salsa can fix anything. We have chickens running around the backyard, a mountain of dishes in the sink, and on any given morning, I have at least 10 school forms that need my signature or initials. It’s a crazy life {I prefer to call it controlled chaos}, but its ours.