Through the eyes of a father
part 5 of 6
The noise kept getting closer. Shouts, voices raised and a crowd, moving closer to the stable. Simon finally went out to see what was going on. When he came back he was surrounded by a small mob. They were all excited about something and were moving in our direction.
“Where is the baby”, one of them asked? “Is he here?”
Simon looked a little apologetic for not stopping them – Jesus slept through it all. Mary sat up and looked at me with those questioning eyes. She seemed to ask, “What is this?”
They were shepherds, still in their heavy coats and winter leggings and all talking at once. With them was a small crowd of townspeople who had heard the commotion and were now traveling with the shepherds to “see for themselves”.
At first they walked right past us and went to the trough. I was nervous and ready to fight, but I soon realized they were not a threat. They clamored loudly and everyone spoke at once. They were saying things like, “It’s true, I told you we would find him” “It’s as they said… look, in the feeding trough…” We were stunned, silent, not knowing what to think.
Finally, it seemed as though someone realized that we were there too and the crowd calmed down a bit. I asked one who looked a bit older and more the leader to explain. It took a few minutes for things to quiet down before he could be heard.
“Peace”, he said as he looked into my eyes. With that the group got quiet.
“I am called Benjamin, son of Thaddeus. We are shepherds from different families, but we serve our flocks together.” We went through the introductions which took a few minutes.
Finally, Benjamin continued, “The flocks were bedded down and we were gathered around the fire talking. All of a sudden, and out of nowhere, there stood before us a Messenger of the Almighty. He was bright, strong and taller than a man. He had eyes that expose the soul and cause the heart to fear. He spoke to us.”
“Do not be afraid”, he said. “I bring good news to you and to all your people. Today, in David’s city, the One has been born who will save the people. The promised One, the Messiah, the Ruler has come.”
“Here is the sign for you, Go. Find the infant wrapped, sleeping in a feeding trough. By this you will know he is the One.”
“With that,” Benjamin (who by now could barely control himself) exclaimed, “Suddenly there were messengers beyond count. We were surrounded. They were singing, with amazing voices, “Glory to God in the Highest, and on earth, peace among the people of His pleasure.”
With that, the group of shepherds could no longer control themselves. They all started talking at once, each giving their account, adding pieces they felt the others forgot. It was chaos for a few minutes. The townspeople were talking among themselves and pointing at Jesus. My brother looked at me with many questions in his eyes. I had no answers.
I found Mary’s eyes. She had been watching the boy the whole time, and now she looked at me. “What does this mean?” she seemed to say. I had no answers for her either.
To be continued…