Yesterday, I was contemplating the appearance of the heavenly host to announce to the shepherds that Christ was born.
It is another instance of Scripture that I think we vastly under estimate. We have seen big choirs bathed in the latest spotlight technology and think, “Yes, that is what it was like.”
But it wasn’t like that at all.
It was bigger and more.
Twice in the past five years, I’ve had near misses driving. Once this past summer when I had about fifteen seconds to make a decision about what to do about a trailer in front of me, and another time when I glanced down, glanced up and saw that a child had stepped into the street about ten feet in front of me.
In both cases, the Lord kept everyone safe, but even many months later, as I sit and type, I can feel my heart begin to race and my stomach begin to churn.
Baptisms make me cry. Even the baptism of a stranger. The pathway to joy that has opened forever in that person’s life reminds me of the grace of Jesus.
One of the most beautiful sights, I’ve ever seen was when my wife started down the aisle on our wedding day. I remember my vision narrowing, the crowd turning fuzzy, almost the way that it gets when you’re about to pass out.
I think that day for the shepherds must have been a mix those three — gut wrenching fear, wonder, and beauty. I suspect that in the great reveal from heaven that the earthy shepherds not only fell, but cursed, cried, screamed, and wailed.
This is always the first encounter with God and his holiness.
“Fear not” comes next.
Do you think any of those shepherds ever doubted the reality of Christ’s birth? They likely faced the usual doubts of God’s goodness (does He care about today and where I am), but not His greatness.
To their dying day, they felt that surge in their chests. An encounter with God. Awestruck by the power of God then the joy that HE WAS REAL above all else.