Cold grey mist lingered in the air just above the ground, typical this time of the year. Another spring morning in Bethlehem, and the thin layer of green grass poked through the littering of rock. Legend is that when God created the world, the angel carrying rocks from Heaven accidentally spilled most of his load all in one place: Israel. Any visitor to Bethlehem might wonder if the legend isn’t true.
Only days before, shepherds began leading their flocks out into the fields to pasture. The weather had been too cold up until then for the ewes and their little lambs to be in the fields all night. Today would be their first to remain outside together. In a few hours the fog would burn away, the sun warming the ground and the sheep’s fine wool.
The morning of anticipation was added to by the arrival of a man and his wife into the cave the sheep called home. There was plenty of room with the flocks leaving for the pasture lands, but many would wonder at the wisdom of these city folk in a sheep pen.
The night grew dark except for the pinpoints of a thousand stars in the sky above. Sheep lay still in the short-walled enclosure while shepherds warmed themselves by the fire, telling tales of mysteries of long, long ago. Without warning the black sky burst with a brilliant light as thousands of tiny stars erupted into glorious figures of heavenly angels singing with choral voices: GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST, AND ON EARTH PEACE, GOOD WILL TOWARD MEN (Luke 2:14)!
The shepherds hurriedly made their way back to Bethlehem and the cave they had abandoned earlier in the day. There, these keepers of sheep and little lambs found a Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. This newborn Child, hailed by the host of Heaven and seen by keepers of sheep, was the Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29).