Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Little Shepherd--a children's story for Christmas

1. Multitudes of angels
 And there were, that night, shepherds in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks, when suddenly huge waterfalls of light flooded the darkness a cave set jarringly open by a legion of heavenly hosts.

But just before, that holy night was like any other.  The shepherds kept one eye peeled on their flocks, the other up and into an inky black night inlaid with a gadzillion stars.

Ezra, the boss, was running through assignments just then—who would be the camp tender and who would be herders or lambers in the next few days.  But to say that Brother Ezra spotted what happened first that night would be dead wrong because when that choir of angels appeared on the broad black stage, no one could have missed them.  No one did.  In fact, just a few minutes after the angels had gone away, not one of them could even remember exactly where they came from or how they even appeared.  Suddenly—whoosh!--there they were, outfitted in wings glowing as if the midday sun had risen just behind them.  

Whoosh!—just like that.

No boom, no charge, just a bath of sparkling brightness.  For a moment little Jesse thought he might have died and gone to heaven.  When he shielded his eyes, he realized he had tumbled to the ground—all of them had; and there they sat, sprawled out as if some monster wind had knocked them all off their pins.   The sheer firepower of all those angels made the desert hills shine, night to day.  Stunning is what it was, even before those angels spoke, even before they sang.  Just stunning.

Little Jesse put an elbow beneath him—the sky was like nothing he’d ever seen.  And when the voices came, the words hummed beautifully like some lovely lullaby line.  “Don’t be afraid,” they said.

Just once.  Just once, and the music of those words reached into their hearts to calm every last jerking muscle and high-wire nerve in their bodies.  That’s the way they talked about it later—as if the very words of the angels awakened such joy in their hearts, joy they hadn’t even known was there at all, joy that spread over the hills of Judea with the miraculous and brilliant angelic spectacle. 

“Incredible news,” the single triumphant voice of the angels told them.  “Big news, but it’s not just for us or for you guys but for all people,” and then they said it again, “—for all people.  For everyone.”

That booming music erased every doubt they could have had and nearly stole away their minds. There they sat, each of them, bowled over, blind as bats in the astonishing radiance.  “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Not one of those shepherds doubted.  There was no question.  They should look for a sign, the angels said, a sign they couldn’t help but chuckle about just a few minutes later as they picked up their things for the trip.  “You will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes,” the angels had told them, “and lying in a manger.

“A savior—the Messiah!”  Old Hadrian had said, eyes starlight bright.  “Honest to God, it’s the Messiah!”  He shook his hoary head, delirious.  “And we’ll find him in a barn?”  He raised both his hands nonsensically.  “Glory be,” he said.  And then again, “Glory be.  Thanks be to God!”

The hills above town turned inky dark again once those angels left, but no one doubted what they’d seen because all of them had felt something pour like honey into their hearts.  In ten minutes, no more, they had packed their things and were ready to go to the city of David to find this baby in swaddling clothes, whatever that was.  

Monday:  Who will guard the sheep? 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You're almost jealous reading this, I too want to witness this miracle of light and angels telling of the birth of our God and Messiah. That is what Christmas Day should be.