It was like any other cold night for the shepherds who took care of the temple sheep. Put yourself in their place, their occupation. The sky is your ceiling. You are a nomad. You live to care for your sheep.
Winter in Palestine is the cold rainy season, the temperature would have been around 25 to 40 degrees—cold in the open night air, damp and bone chilling. But as a shepherd you are inured to the outdoor weather. The hardest thing about your occupation is the tedium of it. Especially in the long, boring hours of the dark, chilly nights, painfully dull and routine! Yet how suddenly the monotony can be broken and your heart pounding as you hear a bleating sheep caught in the iron jaws of a lion or bear or wolf. Then your job is suddenly dangerous! Shepherds have died defending their sheep against such predators. You, like most shepherds, have scars on your body to remind you of painful fights with the beasts that ever lurk to kill your beloved sheep. That’s why you ever keep your staff at your side.
That night was filled with the typical sounds: the monotonous crickets, the rustling of dry leaves by the wind and the soft sounds of sleeping sheep, then suddenly, a blinding light is blazing in the formerly familiar night sky. Radiating from its center is a shimmering, splendid being, obviously more than human. As it’s clarion voice rings out, you and your fellow shepherds are stunned, in absolute awe!
The shepherds were not the only ones left, gaping in awe at the unique things going on as these historic and eternity reaching events unfolded. This morning we will examine some of the situations that inspired awe in the main people that make up this true, story, pivotal to humanity and how it might affect us yet today.