They were gathered on a hillside outside the little town. Normally peaceful and quiet, these last days had seen roads full and dust-laden. But for the moment, the town was blanketed by a star-filled canopy, and stillness settled about the unraveling edges of Bethlehem, interrupted only by the bleating of restless sheep and occasional murmurings of assurance.
The sands of time, having spilled forth grain by grain, all pointed towards this moment. And as the shepherds watched their flocks, the gathering grew, unseen in the stillness. An air of expectancy a knowing permeated the heavenlies this night, while two realms quaked. One realm reverberating in ever-heightening anticipation. The other realm shuddering with dread.
For the seed, planted millennia ago in Eden's moistened clay, now bore its ripened fruit. And with a trembling father's hands, God's swaddling-clothed answer was gently laid in a manger.
At that moment on the hillside, above the heads of shepherds now quaking in alarm, angelic hosts sang forth in choruses never before heard by human ear, "Glory to God in the highest. And on earth, peace, good-will toward man."
And as those words fell, peace rained down like bursting seeds, taking root within each shepherd reaping a harvest of joy and hope none of them could explain.
But there was another host, once calling heaven home, who gnashed their teeth at each proclaimed word of God's peace with man. Their attempts to thwart the Divine plan knew bitter defeat this night. And those dark minions, championing still their cause, slunk away to brood over the stable where the infant lay.
That gift, born in heaven, delivered to human hands, now lies before each heart. Ripened seeds, nourished in two realms, are now planted in the fertile sod of every man's soul, awaiting harvest.
"You delivered, Lord, Your promise of old, on that Bethlehem night. You entrusted Heaven's Seed to our hearts. You planted Him deep, watering with Your voice, that Love-born fruit. Make us open to Your harvest, Dear Father, filling us with Your grace. Amen."
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DeAnna Brooks (December 5, 2007)
Having raised four children, I live now in Texas. Mostly my writing is a sojourn with God. I find myself ever planted in Eden, glorying in its abundant and rich communion with the Almighty. Or, I am looking back, with longing. And the sojourn continues.