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Opinion

It came upon a midnight clear

STREETLIFE - Nigel Paul Villarete - The Freeman

It came upon the midnight clear, that glorious song of old, from angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold: "Peace on the earth, good will to men, from heaven's all-gracious King." The world in solemn stillness lay, to hear the angels sing. And so, this old carol we sing on Christmas. Oftentimes we don’t imagine how it really happened 2,000 years ago. To a bunch of lowly shepherds “staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.” (Luke 2:8).

This happened 2,000 years ago when electricity had not been invented --being in the field can only be described as in “pitch darkness,”-- total extreme darkness where you can’t see anything ... maybe just the dim form of the next fellow shepherd by the autumn starlight. Maybe, they were sleepy, too, with nothing to do but watch, as King David was when he was just a youth hundreds of years before that night. It was a slow watch, in total darkness, waiting for the morning.

Suddenly, “An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.” (Luke 2:9). Who wouldn’t be terrified! Seeing an angel is something you only read in the Bible, not experience in real life. And much more “with the glory of God shining around them! But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:10-12).

While the shepherds were terrified, they could have not imagined what happened next! Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God, and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2:13-14). They were terrified by one angel when suddenly a whole army of angels appeared and filled up the skies. I’m sure the number is beyond measure; how many could it have been? Thousands? Millions? But knowing that it was the birth of the Son of God himself, I believe that all of God’s heavenly angels were there celebrating and praising God! No angel in heaven would have missed this singular event in the whole of eternity when Jesus was born a man to fulfill his eternal gift of salvation. What a sight it could have been, witnessed by a few lowly shepherds sleepily watching their sheep.

There was no news or proclamation. It just came. At midnight. On a particular midnight. But prophecies upon prophecies were foretold thousands of years before this particular night, dating back to the time during creation after Adam and Eve sinned. The whole of history, even the whole of man’s existence, points to this one particular night when Jesus was born, his short earthly life, and his sacrificial death on the cross. History is his story…

PEACE

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