by Josh Huber
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
– Luke 2:8-9
But, before the angel, there’s a scene that is not just ordinary, but super ordinary.
To begin there’s a family caught up in a bureaucratic nightmare that forces them to the extreme edges of discomfort and necessity.
Then there are some fellows nearby working the night shift at a job no one much wants, hoping against all unexpected inconveniences; and praying the long, dark hours do not drag on unnecessarily.
Just another night, just another injustice, just another long slog till morning. Same old, same old. Then…
Suddenly, an angel out of the clear black night.
Suddenly, the glow of the glory of God engulfing the trembling shepherds with their flock.
Suddenly, the sheep carrying on like holy Jesus and the dark broken open like a shattered glass, and each and every one of those shepherds trying not to wet their sweat-stained, dirt-dusted robes–
Fear not, cause look, I’m bringing good news of good news of great joy.
Suddenly, more light than they expected they could ever bear, and the whole world singing with angels so it was like the very dome of heaven was all along a golden bell waiting to be struck and now trembling as hope pulsed through every rock and tree and blade of grass and even the shadows danced with joy.
That’s what it’s all about. That first night and every one after angels singing, and regular folks hurrying from the midst of their everyday life to meet Jesus. The Messiah, our long-awaited hope
and joy and peace, come down into the deepest mess and muck of our lives, to dwell with us to be with us among the thorniest bureaucracies and most mundane brutalities. God suddenly among us as we are. God, like a mother and newborn, embracing all we are.
Especially at Christmas, we remember those angels and their holy singing; we remember that sweet urgency to go and to get a glimpse of Jesus, that tripping rush to be nearer, nearer, my God, to thee.
We remember all the heavenly suddenlies that fill our days and stand to make us whole.
And, lo, an angel…