**That same night, in amongst the other stars, suddenly a bright new star appeared. Of all the stars in the dark vaulted heavens, this one shone clearer. It blazed in the night and made the other stars look pale beside it. God put it there when his baby Son was born - to be like a spotlight. Shining on him. Lighting up the darkness. Showing people the way to him. You see, God was like a new daddy - he couldn't keep the good news to himself. He'd been waiting all these long years for this moment, and now he wanted to tell everyone. So he pulled out all the stops. He'd sent an angel to tell Mary the good news. He'd put a special start in the sky to show where his boy was. And now he was going to send a big choir of angels to sing his happy song to the world: He's here! He's come! Go and see him. My little Boy.
Now where would you send your splendid choir? To a big concert hall maybe? Or a palace perhaps? God sent his to a little hillside, outside a little town, in the middle of the night. He sent all those angels to sing for a raggedy old bunch of shepherds watching their sheep outside Bethlehem.
In those days, remember, people used to laugh at shepherds and say they were smelly and call them other rude names (which I can't possibly mention here). You see, people thought shepherds were no-bodies, just scruffy old riff-raff.
But God must have thought shepherds were very important indeed, because they're the ones he chose to tell the good news to first.
That night some shepherds were out in the open fields, warming themselves by a campfire, when suddenly the sheep darted. They were frightened by something. The olive trees rustled. What was that...A wing beat?
They turned around. Standing in front of them was a huge warrior of light, blazing in the darkness. "Don't be afraid of me!" the bright shining man said. "I haven't come to hurt you. I've come to bring you happy news for everyone everywhere. Today, in David's town, in Bethlehem, God's Son has been born! You can go and see him. He is sleeping in a manger."
Behind the angel they saw a strange glowing cloud - except it wasn't a cloud, it was angels...troops and troops of angels, armed with light! And they were singing a beautiful song: "Glory to God! To God be Fame and Honor and all our Hoorays!"
Then as quickly as they appeared, the angels left.
The shepherds stamped out their fire, left their sheep, raced down the grassy hill, through the gates of Bethlehem, down the narrow cobble streets, through a courtyard, down some step, steps, steps, past an inn, round a corner, through a hedge, until, at last, they reached...
a tumbledown stable.
They caught their breath. Then quietly, they tiptoed inside. They knelt on the dirt floor. They had heard about this Promised Child and now he was here. Heaven's Son. The Maker of the Stars. A baby sleeping in his mother's arms.
This baby would be like that bright star shining in the sky that night. A Light to light up the whole world. Chasing away darkness. Helping people to see.
And the darker the night got, the brighter the star would shine.
**The Jesus Storybook Bible. Lloyd-Jones, Sally. The Light of the whole world, pgs. 184-190.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
Till next time, let your light shine!