It started out a night just like the night before. Quiet. Cool. The smell and noise of the flocks were the same as they always were.
The night could be dangerous. Threats are harder to see in the dark than they are in daylight. These rustic shepherd were tough and unafraid. Living on the fringe of society with their flocks thickened their skin and their souls. These were not the sort to be invited over for dinner or esteemed for their contribution to mankind. They knew their place.
So they lived outdoors, doing what no one else wanted to do but what everyone else needed them to do. No applause for their duty, no award for their sacrifice, no one noticed, just expected.
In a moment it changed.
“And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened.” (Luke 2:9)
In a moment love revealed itself.
“And the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people;’ ” (Luke 2:10)
For all the people. For them, the forgotten and rejected. The angel came to deliver this news to them…some One had been watching… some One knew about them.
In a moment they became tangled in glory.
“And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’ ” (Luke 2:13-14)
Heaven and earth dwelled together. The shepherds and the angels breathed the same air, filled with the fullness of this God moment. The stars and angels danced to the music of praise. The shepherds enfolded into the sacred; awestruck that they were invited to this party.
The One who was for them had come. His glory fell on them, they were tangled in it. Wrapped in its’ mystery and astonished by its’ presence they went to find the One to whom it belonged.
“…the shepherds began saying to one another, ‘Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.’ And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. ” (Luke 2:15-16)
In a moment they witnessed the miraculous all over again. This time is was small but ever wondrous. For the One who was for them would be like them to take on the weight of humanity in order to save it.
Tangled even more in glory the shepherds would never be the same. Glory never leaves, it grows.
“And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” (Luke 2:20)
Them….the forgotten had been remembered all along, the rejected were never discarded, the voiceless of society now filled with the songs of heaven they learned from the angels….. for they were tangled in glory.