There I was, up in the hills, minding my own business – well actually minding me sheep to be accurate. ‘Twas a bit nippy, if I remember, and we were all huddled around this little fire which had almost gone out. Trouble was, none of us wanted to get up and get some more wood- if you moved you’d have to let the cold under your blanket all wrapped around you. But they said I should do it, being the only girl there, and them all men.
See you don’t normally get girl shepherds, especially at night – it’s men’s work they say, you know with the wolves, and the cold and the dark. Don’t make me laugh, half the time they just sit around the fire at night swapping stories and keeping warm with some of that disgusting homebrew Ishmael makes. But my brother was ill-couldn’t work his shift, and someone’s got to mind the sheep.
Anyway, back to the hill. I went off to find some wood – couldn’t see much, although there was a pretty bright star that night – something we’d been keeping an eye on, for a few nights now, so I found my way by its light. I was just on my way back to the fire with a few branches when – bam, there it was, right across the sky, brilliant light and this man standing right before the fire, which was blazing as if you’d poured lamp oil all over it. Haven’t a clue where he came from, and the others were all cowering in their blankets, scared out of their wits. He was quite dishy though, I fancied my chances a bit so I was just about to ask him which side of the lake he lived on when he spoke.
Well, I say spoke. It was more like a song, or that’s how it sounded in my head, beautiful, heavenly, I think I was in love. So much so that I almost missed what he said. But I needn’t have worried, because suddenly about fifty of his pals turned up and they were all sing-talking, in beautiful harmonies like I’ve never heard before.
That’s when the penny dropped.
Well, I’d never seen one before, so how was I to know. Oh, but what a beautiful sound to go with their beautiful faces, and that light across the skies, well it seemed to be coming from them, as well as lighting them up.
I have to admit, at that stage I got a bit scared too, dropped to my knees next to the others, dumbstruck by their beauty and the song through which they spoke.
But the amazing thing was, they’d come to tell us a baby was being born. All this incredible show by angels for a baby. I figured it would have to be a pretty special baby- I think they were saying something about it, sorry, him, being the Son of God – well, I guess you don’t get much more special than that, do you?
And I’ll tell you something. They were right. Later, after the angels had gone we went down to the little cave the baby was in. Well all except Ishmael, we left him looking after the sheep and his homebrew.
But there, in that cave, with his young mum, no older than me, squeezed in next to the animals, was that baby.
I’ve never really felt like that before, when I saw him, this baby Jesus. It was as if I was the only one there, and he, and the angels and all the rest of it had been just for me. Funny, the other shepherds all said the same, that they felt he was there just for them – like he could be there for all of us, but special to each one of us too.
I guess that’s what it’s like being God though, loving everyone, but loving each one of us as if we’re special.
You know I’ll never forget that feeling, or that baby for the rest of my life.
But I’ll tell you, my brother was mad when he realized what an amazing night he’d missed. Shame!