I wonder what the shepherds felt when they found Mary and Joseph and the child. I always imagine them holding the baby, rough hands, yes, but they knew what it was to care for the mother sheep and their lambs in the night watches when birth came.
They were not mere brutes with no feeling for life. They knew how to cradle and protect fragile, newborns. So I wonder what was in them as they held him and looked into his face, angel song still echoing in their heads.
Did they smile as we do when we peer into a bassinet at an infant wrapped in blankets? Did they shake their heads, wondering how a child should be born out where the cattle are kept?
Did they know they held the Eternity who holds them? I suppose not, but we know. I know.
Moments come when Eternity appears. Time stops. The wonder of Love fills the heart with a joy we never imagined possible.
We are inside an all-surpassing Love, a Love that envelops … everything, a Love in which we live and move and have our being.
In these moments, it is impossible to want anything, for we have everything, and everything is one, one Love encompassing all and filling the soul. All exists in Love, and Love fills the inner being, stilling every anxiety with peace and joy.
This Love is Eternity, and Eternity is this Love, the Love who always was and will be, appearing through the veil of time, touching and healing, chasing out every sadness, awaking smiles of awareness that we are one with the Love that is everywhere present in every moment.
Once you know it, you want to feel it always, to be constantly aware of the Love who holds you and transforms you into its likeness. Such knowing is life.
Whether they could name it or not, I think the shepherds knew Eternity in time.
And we? We return to Christmas, again, imagining them enter open-mouthed in wonder at the sight of mother and child, hoping once again that the miracle will happen in us.
Pr. David L. Miller