The great proclamation went out:
Read the roll!
Calculate the counties!
Survey the states!
Evaluate the empire!
And with that decree, the entire population prepared to travel, prepared to make their way to the city of their ancestor, where ever that may be.
Even Joseph & Mary joined the count.
A descendant of royalty and his fiancé traveled dusty highways and crowded streets to join a family reunion unlike any other in history.
With sore feet & weary legs they entered the city of their forefather.
Unnoticed: a pair of tourists wandered this ancestral city looking for a place to spend the night.
Joseph led the way through the city gate. His bride-to-be closely behind,
carrying with her a social shame and an unborn child.
Nine anxious months came to a dramatic end as this young woman cradled her brown, wrinkled baby boy.
Unannounced, a king is born.
Rough, common cloth served as his royal robe.
His imperial throne was nothing more than a
No bed, no cot, no room.
No fanfare, no herald, no trumpets blown.
A barn stall is all that awaited this miracle moment.
Staff in hand, the men huddled close to a fire,
Listening for predators,
Ready to react at a moment’s notice,
Ready to fight thieves & beasts,
Willing to protect their sheep with their very lives.
The darkness was filled only with the sound of sheep chewing dry grass and the smell of dirt, dung, wool, and wood smoke.
Suddenly a flash of light extinguished the darkness!
Fear replaced confidence.
It was more than fear.
It was Terror that filled these brave hearts.
But in an instant, an angel stepped from the light and offered words that both comforted and confused.
Words of hope.
Words of Joy.
Joy for ALL people.
And Joy replaced fear.
“Go & Look.
Seek the Savior.
Find the Baby, the King,
wrapped in cloth and laying in a straw bed.”
But the angel was not alone!
The sky quickly filled with an entire choir of Angels
singing praises to God for what He has done!
They sang at the top of their voices,
“Glory to God!
Glory in the Heavens!
Peace on earth!
God’s Great Gift is for you!”
And just as quickly, it was over.
Darkness returned to the Judean hillside.
The sheepherders slowly relaxed their white-knuckled grips on their staffs.
Awkward eye contact was made over the flickering flames. And resolve was made over the dying embers.
There was no doubt,
“We have to see this thing.”
So, without any delay, they left the hillside.
They left the fire.
They left the sheep.
They did not walk; they ran into the crowded town!
They searched in this barn and that barn!
The looked up this street and down that street!
Until they found Him there,
Just as the angels said they would.
Eventually, they left the warm cattle stall and made their way back to their waiting sheep,
but along the way they told everyone they could
what they had witnessed.
And without exception,
every person who heard the story
was filled with amazement & awe.
As for the shepherds, they went back to the hillside
And their sheep.
But their lives were never the same.
Mary watched with interest and curiosity
as the sheepherders came and went.
She made mental notes and allowed this moment
to inhabit her heart.
“What, EXACTLY, is God doing?
Who IS this baby?
What will he BE?
What will he DO?”