It's amazing how having a farm has, well lets just say has given me insight at times to the Christmas story. The other evening as I was driving and listening to the radio they were telling the story of the shepherds on the hill with their flocks when the angels of the Lord appeared and announced that the Savior was born (Luke 2). They made it sound so idyllic, but here's how the story would have gone on our farm....
"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." I would be too if out of the pitch black night I was blinded. Not to mention my sheep all would have peed themselves, not kidding...sheep do that when nervous.
"But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” My luck I'd have to ask the angel to please speak up since the sheep like to talk over me all the time. Sorry Gabriel, don't mind my sheep...
"Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those 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.” This is a big decision! To leave their flock meant the great risk that their sheep would be scattered, lost or stolen, or attacked by a wild animal. What an impression the angels made on those shepherds for them to be willing to loose their livelihoods to see this baby.
What a wonderful picture of response to Christ's birth! May this season for you and your family be about more than just presents, food, and time off work. Instead may you experience joy, anticipation, and revelation surrounding the birth of Jesus.
From our family (sheep included :)) to yours we wish you a peaceful and joyous Christmas!