In this third blog in a series, Sue Clutterham wonders what it really would have been like to be there in Bible times.
No five-star accommodation with a golden crib for the Son of God, just loads of hay and an animals’ feeding trough. The noise. The smells. No sophisticated pain relief for Mary during labour. The pain. The blood. And then the cry of a newborn child. The relief that he was safely delivered. The joy. The tears. No crocheted shawl or designer gown, just cloth, torn into strips. No cards, balloons or flowers, just bemused animals. Do we really appreciate what it must have been like?
It was humble, weather-beaten and dirty carers of sheep who were on God’s list as the primary messengers in the event of the birth of his Son. Simple word of mouth. Tales of an animals’ night shelter and choirs of angels. How typical of God. Check out the story in Luke 2:1–21 and read it, as if for the first time.
So who would it be today? Who would be entrusted with such important news if Jesus had been born in the twenty-first century? Who would have the privilege of being the first to see the tiny, newborn infant? What do your children think? Probably not a celebrity. How about a restroom attendant at a motorway service station, or a refuse collector? People with tough, basic jobs, just like shepherds in biblical times. Shepherds were the bottom of the pile. But they were chosen! Entrusted with amazing news. Life-changing news. News for the whole world. News that would bring joy to all people. News that is true and relevant 2,000 years later…
It’s our task now. Spreading the news. Telling the amazing story of God coming to earth as a tiny human baby. Imagine being there on that hillside and seeing the great army from heaven, all singing about God’s glory. And then going to the stable and seeing it all for yourself. The young, exhausted girl. The attentive husband. The swaddled infant – God himself.
Do you let this event shape your family life? Encourage your children to think about what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph. Talk together about the shepherds’ response. Ask the Holy Spirit to fill you all with unspeakable joy and an eagerness to share all that God has done. For you. For mankind. For eternity.
Check out the Family Hub and play the game again to remind yourselves of the story of ‘Angels and Shepherds’!
Sue Clutterham is passionate about ministry with children and families. She also enjoys writing and is always on the lookout for new ways to engage people with the Bible. Currently, she is a local mission partner with Scripture Union, working with the Archway Trust in five rural villages in Northamptonshire (UK) – a huge challenge, but exciting and encouraging!