Ah, Christmas night. Time to just relax and savor the day and the Christmas season before we slip into the week between Christmas and New Years. I really do love this season and I hate to see it end. I have to admit that I have found myself looking at it a little differently this year. As I posted earlier I am mindful this year that in the midst of joy there are those who are experiencing sadness and pain and need comforting. I've also come to view the Christmas story a little differently, too.
My Sunday School class studied a book with a DVD series. I didn't agree with everything the author presented, but it did provide some thought provoking ideas. It also caused me to re-read the story as presented in the Gospel of Luke without thinking of all the traditional thoughts and perceptions of the story. It is a simple story with few details; if we had more details I think we would lose the mystique and the intrigue of the story.
The last lesson centered around the shepherds. If you re-read the story you will note that it does not say that a big angel with a white robe and wings appeared in the sky fluttering its wings. It does not say that a huge choir of cherub like angels appeared in the sky either. It is very simple, an angel appeared to (or stood before) the shepherds. As the author pointed out, the angel could have just walked across the hillside, right up to the shepherds. There is no description of the angel either. The choir is just referred to as "a multitude of the heavenly host" praising God. Were there a thousand or maybe just twenty of them? Were they in the sky or were they standing close by on the hillside? The story doesn't tell us. We just know the shepherds were directed to the baby Jesus, Mary and Joseph by an angel and his companions.
Think of Christmas simply, read the story just as it is, and know that God loves us all.