A dark night exploding with brightness I’m sure it was just another ordinary night for the shepherds as they watched over their flocks the night that Jesus was born. They had no idea what was about to take place; but then the extra-ordinary happened. The night sky light up as an angel of the Lord came upon them (Luke 2:10,11) and the Angel said unto them, fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. (verse 13-14) And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men. The announcement went first to shepherds. What an honor it must have been for those lowly shepherds that the Lord would dispatch angels only to them in exclusion of all others; to announce the birth of a savior. What an honor it must have been for a young virgin named Mary; for the angel Gabriel to come to her and tell her that she had found favour with God. Luke 1:30,31 And behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son and shall call his name Jesus. I love stories about angels, heavenly messengers. As the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go into Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manager. (Luke 2:15,16) A more lowly place of birth could not exist. A stable stall- isn’t it amazing how the Lord uses ordinary people and ordinary places for his work to be accomplished. The shepherds went their way and made known all these things which concerned the child. Thus, the shepherds were the first to proclaim his birth, as Mary Magdalene was the first to proclaim his resurrection. A baby was born and the story is told again and again of that first Christmas. God gave his one and only son to the world. I would hope that every family would read the whole story in Luke 1 and 2 and explain the true meaning of Christmas to children and grandchildren. I remember when my children were young; they would dress in house robes and cover their heads to play the parts of Joseph and shepherds. One of the girls would cover her head to play the part of Mary and use her baby doll as Baby Jesus, and I would read the Christmas story from the Bible. Somewhere in my many photo boxes are pictures I have of them- so many memories of special occasions of my children that will never leave me. I’m sure we all have a special Christmas that was our best above all the other ones. Mine was the year of 1975. I was expecting my fifth child. On Christmas Eve I was very busy preparing some of the food planned for our Christmas meal that next day. Suddenly, I realized it was time to get to the hospital. My sister and her husband came from Knoxville to stay with the children while my husband took me to the hospital. It was a long night for me away from children on Christmas Eve. Then around 7 a.m. on Christmas morning our lovely baby daughter was born. I felt so blessed, very tired but blessed. After that I finally fell asleep and dreamed of what I was to name her. So because of my dream she was named Christina Dawn, meaning Christmas morning to me. Over 2,000 years before in a stable Mary cradled her son and kissed the face of our Lord and Savior; God’s gift to the world. That day in a hospital bed; I cradled my child and kissed the face of God’s gift to me. And by His grace, I celebrated my best Christmas ever. What a true blessing. Many of us get caught up in the business of preparing everything and getting ready for Christmas. But let’s not leave Christ out of Christmas. Hold him close to your heart. Give a lot of your love and caring more to those in need, and keep things more simple if possible in your own homes. Many times after Christmas is all over, and the rush is gone is when I really take time to sit down to relax. Turn some Christmas music on. Light some real candles and enjoy the beauty of the decorations in the calm of it all. You can have Christmas anytime. It’s all what’s in your heart. Jesus came the first time in a manger, but he promised a second coming in John 14:3 “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.” Hold on to that blessed hope. From my heart.