Saturday, December 23, 2006

Merry Christmas!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. Luke 2: 8-11

Under the sliver of a new moon, the stars shine down cold--remote as that promise you never meant to keep. The rocky hills ringing Bethlehem look softer by starlight, but you don't judge this land by night. Truth doesn't come by starlight. Truth comes in the glare of the sun--your life, like your land, is flint hard, and buckets of moonlight and wishful thinking won't change that.

You complain a bit, this being your turn to get no sleep. But truth be told, you enjoy the quiet, the peace of the night watch. It's comfortable. Predictable. A lone wolf howls, far away. Just to remind you.

There's nothing special about tonight. Nothing to suggest that this speck of blue dust lost in a spray of glittering galaxies is about to host the God who made it all. Just another quiet, cold night with the sheep and the guys you grew up with. Life in the slow lane. Doing your job--watching out for wolves. Counting the stars, staying close to the fire.

Then, out of nowhere. Truth so bright, so close, so unpredictable, shines down on you. Someone's about to keep a promise.

By Dr. Reg Grant, Professor of Pastoral Ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary

Used here by permission of Dr. Grant and Dallas Theological Seminary

(Photo by Prio; see for restrictions.)

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