8And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
21And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
A deep sigh.
The baby at her breast.
The stable is filled with the sounds of a small fire crackling, animals breathing and hay rustling.
The air is cool.
All is calm, still in the night.
I imagine in the dark moments of giving birth, doubt crept in again. When the pain was so strong and Mary had to keep pressing, doubt fanned the flames of fear in her young heart. There was no doctor there to check him out. No monitors to hook him up to. There were no nurses or experienced mothers to help with their first moments together. Joseph did not put baby Jesus on a scale and measure his head, check his lungs or put a knitted hat on his head. In the quiet, all they had was a weak, tired hope and a baby boy, lying in a manger.
Then, they came…
There are few details given between Jesus being born and the Shepherds entering the stable to see the baby. I like to imagine God sent some help after the birth. Perhaps the stable owner and his wife brought a blanket or food. Conceivably Joseph met a few early risers as he gathered wood and water for his new family. Whatever transpired between the time Jesus was born and when the Shepherds arrived, it is clear that others are present when the shepherds came.
Maybe a wooden door flung open causing Joseph to jump to his feet. Maybe there was a knock. Maybe there was no door at all. As the shepherds entered the stable they saw the sign, a bay wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. Their steps slowed as they neared the baby. I picture these men shaking their heads in amazement as their eyes filled with tears. It was just as the angel had said!
The shepherds wasted no time in telling Mary and Joseph about their meeting with the angel and what was said to them. A Savior has been born, and this is He, Christ the Lord. The people were filled with wonder. They might have even been confused. Could this be true? Could this be the Savior they have been waiting for?
But for Mary, she treasured the story from the Shepherds, pondering them in her heart. By their words, she was strengthened. Once again, doubt was erased. Her baby would be healthy. This baby was whom the angel had said. The testimony of the shepherds had revived her hope. The Savior has come. He is here, lying in a manger.