Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid
I often think of the moment before the angels appeared. The sky was dark and the shepherds drowsily watched their flocks of sheep, straining to see in the darkness any movement of anything at all unusual. The sheep were not just their responsibility, they were their life. But until the moment the angels appeared, everything seemed as dull and ordinary on that hillside outside of the village. Crickets chirped and the wind gently rustled the branches in the olive groves. Then in an instant a light began to break out in the dark sky and the glory of the Lord shone in the darkness. Today the Lord’s glory is still breaking out in dark and unlikely places. Rather than being a fragile tradition that we struggle to preserve in this secular society, Christmas is an astonishingly powerful light that has continued to pierce the darkness no matter the odds for more than 2000 years.