It’s the Christmas season once again; lighted trees, little lights on houses, wreaths and presents. People shopping, many people shopping; crowded stores and parking lots, snow and cold, yes, it is Christmas time. Every year I promise myself that next year I am going to shop earlier so I can enjoy the season more and every year I end up waiting until the end of November to begin. But this is not what is on my mind right now, I am thinking of Palm Sunday and Good Friday. There is a much longer story that has been on my mind for many years and has yet to come to fruition. I’ll not tell it here, but give a glimpse into my thoughts.
I have often wondered what happened to the shepherds. They beheld God Incarnate in a lowly stable. They were told of Messiah’s birth by angels in the sky, not just one angel but a heavenly host, an orchestra of angels singing in the sky around them, surrounded by a bright light. Scripture tells us they were “afraid” and that they ran to find the child, this was a life altering experience. I have often wondered if 33 years later, one or more of the shepherds were in Jerusalem when Jesus rode into the city on a donkey; were part of the crowd shouting hosanna and whether they were there on the day those same angels stood in silence and wept with the Father as they gazed on Calvary. I don’t look at this as a “downer” by any stretch of the imagination for I go on to wonder if any of those shepherds recognized the child of the manger, those many years later and became follower’s of Jesus after the resurrection. I have difficulty picturing them as part of the crowd that called for His death while with Pilate. Only because, if they had recognized him and put two and two together how could they call for the death of the one they had been told was the Messiah on that cold winter night. But, humans are fickle with short memories; I guess it is possible that given the price some have to pay for living, they may have allowed bitterness to cloud their memory of that marvelous night.
Under my Christmas tree I place a nativity scene, a crèche that reminds me that my greatest gift at Christmas is the Child of the Manger, destined to be the Sacrificial Lamb. May the light of the star guide you throughout the year from the manger, to the cross, to the empty tomb where the gift of the Father, was fully unwrapped.