"Could it be," thought Jezreel, "that the Eternal truly has poured out His oil and has a purpose for me? If so, what is my purpose?"
"The Eternal hears your prayers, Jezreel." The voice was like the sound of a rushing stream. Immediately, the hillside lit up as if it were daylight! The other members of the watch each began jumping to his feet. Jonah was first, holding his staff at the ready. Jonathan, at thirteen, the youngest member of their group, cried out and looked as if he might run away into the night."
"Don't be alarmed," said the man who was completely cloaked in light. "I have come to bring you good news and it will bring you great joy even before this night is over! It is a message, not only for you, but for everyone you meet!"
"Everyone we meet?" Jezreel's thoughts were leaping as fast as his heart. "No one is out here on this hillside except us."
The angel looked at the watch leader with bright, knowing eyes. "This is no ordinary night," he said. "Today in Bethlehem a baby has been born. He has come to save you and your people. He is your Messiah!"
"Messiah?" The shepherds all began to speak at once. "Messiah has come? Where is He? How will we know Him? What if many babies were born in Bethlehem this day?"
"The Eternal has given you a sign as a way to find Him," said the angel. "He has been swaddled in simple cloth and His bed is not in a house, but in the shed where animals are fed. You fill find Him lying in a feeding trough!"
Suddenly, the light all around them intensified and caused them to look toward the sky. They saw for the first time that their messenger wasn't alone. Surrounding him was a great multitude of bright beings, too many to count. They were praising the Eternal. Among them, some were leaping and dancing as they sang a chorus of praise.
"Glory to the Eternal, the Most High! We declare His peace on earth, for He is pleased with the people He as created. Glory! Hallelujah!"
To my readers: the events surrounding the birth of Christ are given extensive coverage in Scripture. The parts we don't always know about are the human elements, especially from the viewpoint of Jesus' participants. My attempt this Christmas is to stay true to the Biblical text, while shading in what it may have been like "between the lines." Please distinguish my ruminations from God's Word by reading the first few chapters of Matthew and Luke. My hope is that reading my words impacts you even a tiny percentage as much as writing them has impacted me.