“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.” Luke 2:8
To really appreciate what it must have been like on the night that Jesus was born you need to drive out into the country, away from all of the lights. There were nights when I lived in Sandhills of Western Nebraska when the night was so still that I could literally hear my heart beat and listened to goose bumps ‘pop’ on my back. The stars appear to be bright shining diamonds hanging in the sky and that is a time when God is so close that one can almost reach out and touch His hand. While living in Petionville, a suburb of Port-au-Prince it was possible to go onto the roof of my apartment and gaze at the stars since there was no electricity; and there too, the stars seemed so close that a person could almost reach out and rub against them and feel the closeness of our Heavenly Father, Creator. The Son of God came to earth on a still, quiet night; oblivious to many. Too many people in our world today will not spend time considering the importance of His birth, His life, His death and resurrection. It seems so difficult to separate ourselves from the activities of this world to stop for a few moments and give thanks for His coming to be our Savior.
I watched an ‘old’ movie that was filmed in 1947 and titled “The Bishop’s Wife” and it had a splendid closing message at the end. The Bishop, portrayed by David Niven read following; “Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries; we celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, the sound of bells and with gifts. But especially with gifts; you give me a book; I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer, and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled, all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up; the stocking for the child born in a manger. It's His birthday we are celebrating; don't ever let us forget that. Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most, and then let each put in his share. Loving kindness, warm hearts and the stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.” Let us never, ever forget that it’s His birthday and share the reason why that is so very important with our family, friends and strangers. I close today’s devotion closes with the words to the hymn ‘Silent Night’ that was written by Joseph Mohr in 1818.
“Silent night! Holy night! All is calm; all is bright, round yon Virgin Mother and Child.
Holy Infant, so tender and mild, sleep in heavenly peace, sleep in heavenly peace. Silent night! Holy night! Shepherds quake at the sight; glories stream from heaven afar, Heavenly hosts sing, Alleluia. Christ, the Savior, is born! Christ, the Savior, is born! Silent night! Holy night! Son of God, love's pure light radiant beams from Thy holy face, with the dawn of redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth. Jesus, Lord, at Thy birth.”
Dear Heavenly Father, you have called your servants to ventures of which we cannot see the ending, by paths as yet untrodden, through perils unknown. Give us faith to go out with good courage, not knowing where we go but only that your hand is leading us and your love supporting us through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Amen.
May God be with you…Jay