Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Innermost Interlude

During the series "Christmas At Innermost" I focused on retelling the stories of the original Christmas through a fictionalized viewpoint of characters involved. In the process, I was also preaching a "Christmas At Innermost" series at church. That is where I shared the following, which didn't really fit here at Dwell and Cultivate. It helped me get a better handle on how that wonderful night might have happened in more modern times.
It had been a ba-a-a-a-a-ner year for the company. Wool prices were up and production quotas went through the roof. As the Bethlehem Sheep Company posted record profits, their CEO threw a lavish party at his estate in the exclusive Bethlehem Shadows district. His guests included all senior company management and their spouses as well as the entire executive branch of the International Brotherhood of Shepherds and Shepherdesses, with whom labor talks would begin next week. “Cocktails begin at 6 p.m., Hors d'oeuvres at 7 p.m., with a twelve-course meal to follow. Dinner music will be provided by the Jerusalem String Quartet. Dancing under the stars will feature Shadrach and the Fiery Furnace.”

By 6 o’clock, chauffeured chariots were stretched out for over a mile, each waiting to deposit another VIP couple at the palatial home. By 9 o’clock, every belly was full and every head was sloshing with the finest wine they had ever drunk...

8 In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.
10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people;
11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 "This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased."
15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us."
16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger.
17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child.
18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.
20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
Luke 2:8-20 (New American Standard Bible)

Meanwhile, the party at the CEO’s home was just breaking up. His Executive Vice President had spent the evening telling close friends, “When I take charge of this company, I will show you how successful it can be.” The wife of the union president spent the evening complaining that he should have taken those dancing lessons she paid for. The CEO himself had to leave his guests so he could quietly throw up...twice. But they all smiled to one another as they said goodbye and said, “What a great time we had!”

Reader, if you had a choice, where would you have been that night? I asked myself the question and didn't like the answer.


C. Beth said...

I often don't have the "right" answers to these questions, but I really think this time I'd prefer being in the field! There will always be another party, but an encounter with angels is usually a once-in-a-lifetime thing!

Sam said...

Perhaps I didn't write it well, Beth. But, what if you didn't know that angels would show up at the hillside? THEN, would you choose the party or the field?

addhumorandfaith said...

You're right, Sam. In the style of "Monday morning quarterbacking" I would easily choose the shepherd's party too. But, in reality my first instinct would be to choose the elegant party.