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As the campfire cooled, the air above the camp rustled. The sentry stood and all the others raised up on one elbow and scanned the inky sky. Louder and louder the rustle became until it filled the night sky with a constant roar. Now, instead of blackness, the shepherds had to squint as the night came alive with light and the voice of an angel.
No one movedthey were frozen with fear.
The angel spoke. Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.
After this official announcement the sky filled with angelssinging:
Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.
Then, as suddenly as it had appeared, Gods angel choir vanished. The cool, damp night was heavy and silent except for the bleating of a few scared sheep. The shepherds stood and breathed a relieved sigh that the frightening show was over. But after they had caught their breath they said with one voice, Lets go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened.
That night, as the favored herdsmen stumbled toward Bethlehem, they may have pieced together the message of the ancient scrolls which spoke of the God of Israel himself visiting the earth. Maybe they remembered how God had promised to be the shepherd of his people. They could have known they were going to see the hope of all the world.
Lets go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened.|
But now the shepherds knew this baby was the special one the prophets had been writing about for so many years. They believed the angels announcement. No doubt they told others about the angels and the singing and the ruddy infant in a feed trough.
Through the next few weeks and months, as the shepherds spread the word, others patiently listened to them about the sky-lights, singing angels and the child-savior. They listenedand wondered. Had the herders spent too many nights looking up into the sky? Would the king come as a peasant baby with a manger as a birthing room and rags for clothes? Would God reveal Israels Savior to simple shepherds?
It would take 30 years for some to believe the herders story and to see Gods plan. Some skeptics would believe this fantastic story only after they saw Jesus heal the sick and call the dead back to life. For others, the light would dawn on an unusual Pentecost in Jerusalem thirty-three years after the shepherds strange night.
Since that night, millions have heard and believed the good news premiered on the hills near Bethlehem. Even now, the story of the manger, the cross and the empty grave has the power to reshape lives. The sheep herders report lives on.
Shepherds saw God on his first night in human flesh. Lowly shepherds. But this shouldnt seem unlikely. After all, who could better appreciate the Lamb of God ?
HEARTLIGHT(R) Magazine is a ministry of loving Christians and the Westover Hills church of Christ.
Edited by Phil Ware and Paul Lee.
Copyright © 1996-97, Heartlight, Inc., 8332 Mesa Drive, Austin, TX 78759.
© 1998 Dennis Crawford. Used by permission.
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