“Peace on the earth, good will towards men from heaven’s all gracious king.”
It wasn’t a particularly good day for the shepherds. Four of the sheep had gotten caught among the brambles, and two had wandered off in search of greener pastures. The sun had been warm all day, and nothing hurt more than resting on that stony ground around David’s City.
A few had given up for the day and went home.
Home to bed and warm food and sleep.
But a few, the hardened shepherds, the ones who knew no other life, stayed on into the night and huddled around a fire meant to keep them warm in the now cold darkness.
The quietness hung around them like the coats over their shoulders. The occasional bleat from a lamb frightened by a rustle in the tall grass was the only sound to hover near them, and it soon disipated into the ever-increasing silence.
Can you see it?
If you close your eyes and look, maybe you can see them.
There, to your left are two of the older fellows, and on your right a couple younger ones, all gazing up at the silent stars. The fire before you is burning bright and just over that tall shepherd’s shoulder you can make out a few lights in David’s City.
The tall fellow looks about his companions, nods to himself in satisfaction, as if to say, “Everyone is still here,” and closes his eyes. Sleep sounds good. He’s been here since morning and after finding the two lost sheep, he is tired.
The lights across the country are turned on as the hillside suddenly bursts forth into singing! No man is sleeping, and no animal shakes from fear. The silence is shattered and thousands of voices sing in unison, “Peace on the earth! Goodwill toward men from heaven’s all-gracious king!”
The solemn stillness is broken. It is silent no more. The angels have sung and the clear sky is a burst with lights.
The tall fellow never got his nap that night.
But that was okay.
He figured he didn’t need it.