“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’ When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’”
Ken and I were keeping a holiday tradition by having a special dinner at an elegant restaurant. The tables were set with crystal, linens, silver, and candlelight. As we savored our meal, carolers dressed Victorian style—like a quartet out of a Dickens novel—came to our table. When they asked for a favorite carol, I requested “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming.” They looked surprised, but I could tell they loved singing all its harmonies.
This song pulls mysteriously on my heart, bidding me to go beyond, to “step into the other side” of Christmas—like an inkling, a hint, whisper, of an even greater celebration yet to happen. Christmas is still a promise. Yes, the Savior has come, but the story isn’t finished. Peace is in our hearts, but we long for peace in our world. Soon, though, the Rose of Sharon will return and with Him all the fragrance and joy of a longing fulfilled.
Lord, the glory and radiance of the angelic choir the shepherds witnessed that first Christmas night were just pinpricks from heaven into our dark world. If I had been there, I would have remembered it all my days. But in Your unspeakable grace, Jesus, I will see greater glory than this in the bright morning of eternity.