“Tell it again, Grandpa.” The twins gently yet persistently tugged on the hem of the old man’s outer garment. It was getting late, and the two six-year-olds were just now entering into their evening ploy to delay their bed-time.
“Don’t you ever tire of my story?” The grandfather sighed. It’s not that the old man disliked looking after his only grandson and granddaughter, but, oh my, how they wore him out. His nearly eighty year old bones couldn’t keep up with these two. He felt a chill in the air and stirred up their little camp fire. It was a clear evening. The stars would shine brightly tonight.
The children began to pester him again. “Please, Grandpa? We promise to go to sleep right after your story.” These two had their ways of wresting whatever they desired from their grandfather. What harm in another story? Once more his memories drifted back to that evening, not unlike this one: Clear night, bright stars, and warm fire. The children sat still in rapt attention as his tale began.
‘”I was not too much older than the both of you that night the angels came. It was a cool evening, much like tonight, and we shepherds had gathered our flocks together for warmth and safety. The evening was wearing long, and many of the shepherds had drifted off to sleep. My own eyes were getting heavy. They were nearly closed when suddenly the sky went bright. It was unnerving how shiny was the sky. Had the sun been out, it wouldn’t have been lit so well.
“Then through the brightness, we began to see shapes, the forms of people – no… angels – were seen floating in the sky! When they were fully visible, we could hear them. They were singing! The chorus went: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and Peace on Earth. Goodwill toward men.’
“By this time many in our group were frightened to death. Angels are something you hear about in stories. No one sees them in real life. Do they? One of the angels came down from the choir to the ground right in front of us.
“He said, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.’
“We ran down to the village and found things just as the angel had said. We saw the little newborn. We spoke with his parents and told them of the angel choir.”
Just then the grandson spoke up. “Whatever happened to the baby, Grandpa? Did you ever see this Savior again?”
The old man inhaled deeply. As many times as he had told this tale to these children, he always knew that there would come a day when they would grow old enough to ask for more of the story than he was comfortable with sharing. This is the day, he thought to himself. He continued.
“Yes. I did see that baby again. Many years had passed since that glorious night. The baby had grown into quite a young man. He had amassed a number of followers and shared a message throughout the countryside that the Kingdom of God was drawing near.
“It was Passover time. This man and one of his followers came to me looking to purchase a Passover lamb. They took their time inspecting the finest of my flock until they found just the right one.
“I asked him about his message of the Kingdom of God being near, and he told me that it was nearer than ever.
“‘In fact,’ he said, ‘It will be realized just a few days from now.’ Pointing to the lamb he’d just selected, he said, ‘The sacrifice of lambs and bulls will no longer be needed after the blood of God’s own Lamb is shed.’ With that, the man and his follower took their lamb and left. I never saw him again.”
The granddaughter was confused. “What happened to him?”
“Who was he?” the grandson asked, “The angels called him ‘Savior.'”
“His name was Jesus. He was killed – crucified – a few days after I last saw him. And some claim that this Jesus was the Lamb of God.”
“I wish I knew that Jesus,” said the grandson.
“Me, too,” exclaimed the granddaughter, as they both snuggled under their covers to dream of heavenly choirs and angelic visits.
— Praying that Jesus is more than just a Christmas story for you and yours,