Readings: Isaiah 62:6-12; Psalm 97; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2:8-20
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see – I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven; and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” [Luke 2:8-15, NRSV]
When I think of the Advent season,I go back to my roots.
I was born in a small rural village called Newbold, just outside Rugby, Warwickshire, England. My sisters and I attended St. Botolph’s Sunday School in a small stone church similar to Christ Church. I’m sure that’s where we heard the Christmas story. We knew about the shepherds on a winter’s night listening and seeing the beautiful angels.
We went Christmas caroling and the one carol that I remember was Once in Royal David’s City stood a lowly cattle shed. We were familiar with cattle sheds because the hillsides in our village had sheep and cows and cattle sheds. This is where the Christmas story came to life.
We could imagine the shining stars all about and one special star that guided the three kings to the cattle shed where Jesus was born. In that small village we could imagine shepherds on the hillsides with angels and bright stars. We were filled with anticipation, but not for presents and gifts.
When Christmas finally came we were filled with the same excitement as the shepherds felt to see the Holy Infant. We enjoyed home baked candy, cookies and cakes. We were very happy, filled with the Christmas spirit.
So Advent to me brings back warm feelings that I felt as a nine year old child. On a cold winter’s night I still enjoy the bright stars and I am still looking for that bright star which will lead me to Baby Jesus and the true meaning of Christmas.
Offered by Anita Trottier, child of God bound for Bethlehem.
[Holy Family, by Margaret Hill]