And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Luke 2: 10
Even that first Christmas, not everyone listened.
Yes, shepherds and wise men hurried to the stable. And warmed by hay-breathed beasts, his love-struck mother leaned close. Just a handful of strangers gazed at a manger, as one star hung low, over the infant below.
No doubt, cross the yard, the innkeeper sat hunched over his figures, muttering at taxes and costly repairs. Bedbugs ruin business, as do drunken brawls, heard through the walls. Maybe, for a moment, a strange, ethereal sound made him look up, and he wondered if on top of it all his hearing was going, and wasn’t that how his own dad expired, stone-deaf and tired?
And, we can assume, at least one of his guests tossed and turned in a room, sweat-scented with travelers, come for the census. For the Emperor decreed that all would be counted, and taxes mounted to pay for his glory and luxurious dreams. (Still today, drunk with power, kings are driven by greed to take more than they need).
And that guest maybe wondered why the dark sky grew lighter, a bright beam through the window making it difficult to sleep. They should do something about that, she perhaps moaned to her mattress, a tear wetting her cheek because nothing seemed right, especially at night.
And when a soft baby’s cry disturbed the earth’s slumber, and the angels wondered at Love’s stooping to free us, so we could finally be us (as God planned all along), and burst into song:
“We bring Good News of Great Joy—all of you! Come, forgotten or famous, broken or bullied, suffering or self-satisfied, deaf, blind, or bitter—listen! The one who will save you—from your own prickly pride, from the darkness that will swallow you, from the mob bent on hardening your once tender heart—to all weary-worn, Christ is born!”
It’s interesting to ponder, just how few responded; the rest just turned over, a pillow on their head, the sleep of the dead.
And this Christmas, will you listen?
This year, as you scroll through internet madness, or search for mall parking, and wonder if this Christmas you’ll stay sober, or if anyone even knows or cares you exist–will you listen? For Jesus is beside you, whispering through your fear, “I am here.”
The carolers still gather, and birds in the chill morning are still singing to Him. The Christmas tree points skyward, the candle flames upward. And if you tune out the chaotic, cruel clamor, and quiet your mind, there you’ll find,
piercing the silence, a song clear and true, calling to you with good news to tell—
All is well.