A Sheep’s Surprise

[The following is chapter 15 in Pastor Rich’s children’s book, If They Could Talk: letters from those who were there. The book concerns the story of our redemption as it unfolds from Genesis to Revelation. “A Sheep’s Surprise” is the story of the angelic announcement of Jesus’ birth as found in Luke 2. The sheep closes with two questions posed to all. How have you answered them?]

My Friends,

There was no prophet’s voice in Israel; God’s voice gone quiet.  It had been centuries.  Four hundred years of silence, four hundred years of waiting; had God forgotten?  Then it happened; and I was there.

A Bethlehem hill, a winter’s night, a stiff Northeasterly; these are not a good combination, even for one with wool.  If not for a hot fire and a warm conversation, I don’t know what our thinly clad shepherds would have done.  On nights like this, I eat.  It passes time and fills the belly, an enjoyable pursuit in an otherwise not so enjoyable situation.

Then it all happened so fast, I don’t know from which direction, or if there even was a direction.  But they were there, everywhere.  Bunches and bunches of them; and a holy light filled the cold Judean sky.

Heaven’s silence ceased when an angelic messenger spoke: “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord!”

And we sheep looked at each other; all covered with awe and bursting from what we just heard.  “It is happening,” one sheep bleated from behind.  “Do you hear?” he continued, talking to no one in particular, “the Messiah, He is coming to bring man back to God.”

I cried.  For I knew this was so.  I was standing upon history’s hinge.  God’s plan, promised for centuries, was unfolding.  And I was there to usher its dawning.  Next, more voices of no earthly tone; clear, full, and beautiful, rang forth from the rest of the gathered angelic host: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with Whom He is pleased!”  And then they were gone.

Stumbling with excitement and falling over each other with joy, our shepherds tumbled and bounded down the hill to find Him Who’s birth had been foretold.  It was then I found myself alone as my sheep friends also had run to tell of His birth to other animal friends.

A bright star still rested above.  Its glimmering rays seemed to touch a small stable in the valley below.  “He is born,” I whispered to myself.  “He is here,” I breathed.  “The King has come.  Will they recognize Him?  O, how shall He be received?”

God Bless you,
The Sheep

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