And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude
of the heavenly host praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.’
– Luke 2:13-14
In Nazareth, one man really appreciated census time.
The innkeeper stepped into the street to get more provisions for his guests. It was alive with the sounds of the evening as travelers clogged the market. Cranky mothers scolded crying children and men hurried to get their animals fed and watered. Makeshift camps sprung up after every possible lodging was filled.
He rubbed his hands together in contentment as he thought of the extra money he was making. The crush of people was an annoyance, but the census had turned out to be great for the area businesses. His inn was full.
He was just stepping back inside when he was approached by a stranger leading a donkey, upon which sat a very young pregnant woman. He quickly rebuffed the man’s inquiry about a room for the night. He had to get back to his guests.
Then he glanced over at the girl. She was in obvious pain. A twinge of guilt pricked him. There was the stable, if they didn’t mind sleeping with the animals. He quickly closed the door on them and the sense of emptiness that soured his stomach.
Through the night, the young Jewish woman labored to deliver her King, her cries drowned out by the cacophony in the street. Then as Bethlehem finally slept, a new, small sound filled the stable as the Child took His first breath from inside His creation.
It was the sound of the Life-giver joining His world.
In the sweet darkness of the night, in the stillness of the Eternity that dawned, the shepherds heard the triumphant sound of a party in heaven.
In all the earth, they alone saw the splendor.
The lowly heard what the mighty missed. Kings were blind and deaf. Wise men beheld the glory from afar. In the whole wide world, it was those keeping lonely vigil over the sheep who heard the angel voices.
What a sound it must have been! What an honor to witness such praise! Wonder of wonders, that men should hear the songs of heaven.
Wonder of wonders, He reaches through the ages and invites us to sing along.
Fall on your knees
O hear the angel voices!
O night divine!
O night, when Christ was born!