24 December 2007

Holidays & Celebrations:

By Penny Ash

She knew it would be soon, the whisper soft sound of voices offered encouragement. In her heart she knew that everything would be alright, still she couldn't help feeling just a little fearful. After all this was something she had never done before. She watched the throngs of people crowding the streets and filling up the small square around her while she waited for her husband.

When he came out she knew right away he'd had no success. He lifted his eyes to hers and there was an apology in his smile. A cold breeze ruffled the hem of her dress and she pulled the blanket closer. The stars blazed brighter for a brief moment and she grimaced at the discomfort. She would be glad to get off the donkey and feel solid ground beneath her feet.

Her husband tugged on the rope and the donkey obediently plodded forward. They entered the small stable. "I'm sorry, it was all they had," he said.

"It is shelter. It will be alright," she said as he lifted her down.

The donkey promptly shuffled over to the hay filled manger and snatched a mouthful.

"Wake up," Simon gave his brother a sharp nudge. "Something strange is happening."

"Wolves? What?" Benjamin struggled up and looked around himself for any danger to their sheep.

"No, look at the sky," Simon shivered and clutched his staff tighter.

The two shepherds watched the stars slowly growing brighter and then dimming. A sound began to grow with the pulsing of the heavens. It was a multitude of voices, a joyful sound like the rushing of the wind.

Suddenly an angel stood before them and a brilliant light surrounded them. They held onto each other in their fear.

And the angel said, "Fear not: for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born today in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." He was joined by a great number of angels singing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men," and as quickly as they had appeared they were gone.

The shepherds looked at each other for a moment. "Let's go into Bethlehem and see this miracle that the Lord has made known to us," they said and hurried into the town.

When they had found the child and seen him they told all they encountered of the words the angel had told them concerning the child. They returned to their flock at last, glorifying God for all they had seen.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life." John 3:16 (King James Version)

Lest we forget that the real meaning of the Christmas season is not the tinsel and tree.