My father is a shepherd, and now I join him in the fields. Right now he is walking out on the side of the mountain, checking in on the animals. He never loses any.
I push my feet into the dirt. My sandals are worn and caked with thick dust and mud. I jab at the fire again.
Suddenly, there is a sound. A sheep scurries past. My buddy bolts upright. "What was that?" he asks.
Before I can respond, a bright light bursts forth in the sky! We jump up and turn to see a giant man glowing. I search for my papa. Where is he? I am just about to start running, when the shining man speaks.
"Don't be afraid," he says. "I'm here to tell you good news for everyone everywhere. Today in Bethlehem, God's son has been born! Go and see him. He's sleeping in a manger." Then, just like that, a huge, glowing choir appears and begins singing. They are praising God.
What on earth is happening? And where is my father? We are shepherds - not exactly the first folks to get invited to God's baby's birthday party.
My father runs up, panting. "Did you see it?" I ask him.
"Yes," he replies with hands on his knees. I wait. "Let's go," he says.
I have never seen my father abandon a flock, but I have also never seen a shining choir singing in the sky. We grab our packs and hurry down the mountain towards Bethlehem. For the first time, I notice a bright star shining over the city.
We push through the streets of Bethlehem. Good thing about being a shepherd, I suppose, is people don't like to be too close to us. We smell like sheep and all. I think about God’s son and wonder if we should have taken a bath first?
Thankfully, the angel said he’d be in a manger. Mangers are in stables, and we are acquainted with stables. Suddenly, my father stops. I nearly run into his back.
I look up. We are practically underneath the star. I peaked around my father to see a stable and three women huddled around a baby. I can only see his foot sticking out between them. A woman rests on the ground.
We step inside, and everyone looks up. I worry they will send us away.
A man speaks. "I am Joseph. This is my wife Mary," he gestures to the woman resting. He smiles. "And this is the baby Jesus." The women hand Joseph the baby, and he lays him inside the manger.
My whole body warms and I wonder if I am shining like the man in the field. Without thinking, I drop to my knees. So does my father and the others with us.
There we are, bowing before this tiny baby, the Son of God. It is the strangest and most natural moment of my life. I hear the baby's mother crying ever so softly.
Never would I have expected God to invite me into this moment. It is truly divine. I keep my head down and worship my God and this new infant, God's son.
All posts in this year's Advent series:
1. The Journey
2. The Stable
3. The Birth
4. The Visitors