Consider the sheep herders that Luke writes about in his infancy narrative. These farmers defending their sheep from the darkness become frightened themselves. The angelic messenger that brings good news causes them to be terrified. But they were scared by the show but moved by the news.So moved that they head to town to see this thing that has happened.
Ironically, the sign….isn’t anything nearly as paranormal as what they just witnessed, at least on the surface. They aren’t guided to the delivery room by a bright star shining in the moonroof of the stable as hollywood portrays. They are to look for a baby lying in a cattle feed box. Seems easy enough to find, I can’t imagine there would be too many of those.
Was their discovery anticlimactic? Their evening interrupted by unexplainable glory leads them to a moment of unexplainable humility.
It may have seemed that their was more Bovine than Divine in that stable that night. (for those wondering canine=cat, canine=dog, bovine=cow – use it in a sentence tomorrow.)
But for these Farmhands, this Baby in a feed box was a bigger deal than the angels on the hill. This was a case of the ordinary confirming the extraordinary. God with us.
After finding the new parents and witnessing ‘God with us‘ they head off to tell the world of what was told to them about this child. Really? Do you believe that they spent more time talking about a baby in a feed box, than about the angels on the hill? Luke records that they went and told of what was told them about this child and all who heard were amazed. It reminds me that it is important to be amazed at the right parts of this story.
Mary and Joseph may have felt a little anti climax as well. Here they are 9 months after some pretty extraordinary circumstances change their life forever, in a cold dark stable. In a town full of relatives, not a single guest room available. No angels, no talking sheep, just the cold silence broken by the screams of mother and child.
Yet something quite extraordinary does happen. Perhaps angels did appear to Mary and Joseph that night….unknowingly in the guise of lowly farmhands.
Makes me wonder when I am acting as messenger of all that is good on God’s behalf. Reminds me that God is with us, and sometimes he sends others to let us know. Whether with wings or not, messengers they are.
It makes me wonder if when I am searching for God in the stillness of my night, if I should quit looking up to the stars and start looking down into the feed-boxes of my life.
This story affirms all the more that when life seems more bovine than divine, God is here, I may need someone to simply remind me.
For other thoughts read ‘Licking the Wise men’ here