A young boy, around the age of 16 is out on a hillside doing his job. He is watching sheep. It's not the coolest job in the world. Sheep aren't very smart, they just lay down... eat... drink... he was bored!
On this night, the sky was so clear, he thought the stars even looked a bit brighter! he was laying back, just resting when all of a sudden - this flash appeared in the sky! He thought at first it was just lightening, but then, a man was standing there. He had on armor, was holding a shield. The fear that struck this young shepherd was so deep he had never felt it before. He had faced dangers as a shepherd before while protecting his sheep, but this.... this was supernatural!
The first words that the armored man said were "Do not be afraid."
The man went on to describe a child that had been born about 30 minutes away. This child, he said would be the Savior of the world! The man told the boy and the other shepherds to go to see this child. He was telling this as if this child might be that Savior that Isaiah had told about in the Scriptures. The young boy had grown up in a Jewish family. He knew the prophecies said that a Savior would come. But why did the angel decide to tell these poor shepherds?
As soon as the announcement was made, the story became even more incredible! The sky was FILLED with thousands of angels, and with the most beautiful voices he had ever heard proclaiming to the world "Glory to God in the highest! and on earth, peace, good will towards men!"
When it all faded, the young boy looked to his fellow shepherds for some verification that this had not been a dream. They all seemed to have the same speechless look on their faces. He jumped up, grabbed his staff and started running.... sprinting... towards the glow of the city below him. How would he know when he found the right stable? Well, he wasn't sure - but he knew that the other shepherds were right on his tracks running down the hillside. He expected to see the people in the city going crazy when he arrived. The angels were so beautiful and bright, how could the townspeople below have not heard their wonderful voices? How could they have not seen the sky lit up!
But the people in the town seemed to be sleeping still. To this young shepherd, this was the most amazing night of his life! How could they sleep through it?
They ran, checking in every stable when finally, they came upon one that had the light of a small torch burning. They passed the few stalls where the guests of the inn had left their horses and donkeys for the evening, and then, the light got brighter as they turned the corner to see a young girl, not more than 15 years old, and a man, who was not much older than the shepherd boy. The couple had a look of amazement and wonder on their faces as they looked at the child, and seemed to be just as surprised to look up and see a group of shepherds watching them. The silence was overwhelming!
The girl had tears in her eyes as the shepherds slowly began to describe how they had found the child. She knew her boy was special, but this announcement to the shepherds was too much to comprehend this night.
After each shepherd took a turn looking into the eyes of their Savior, they turned to go back to their hill, where the sheep were still grazing. Each one wondering in their own heart how they could ever sit and watch sheep again. Their life had been changed. They had seen the Savior of the world - the Messiah they had been waiting for. They did not know what impact he would have in changing the world, they only knew that their entire world had been changed that night.
Years later - this young shepherd boy - while telling his children of the story that had changed his life... of the angels, the run to town, and the stable - would hear the news that this man was being crucified. The questions that had been in his heart since that night 33 years ago, would echo more resoundly! How is it that this child, whose birth was announced by angels, could be killed at the hands of man? My life was changed because of this man - what will come next?
As we get further and further into the Christmas season, and the business that comes with it. The buying, the wrapping, the giving and receiving.... Ask yourself, when you first met your Savior, did your life change? Did He impact you in such a way that years later - when people talk about Him, you remember that first meeting?
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