If the author of the gospel of Luke were here today, and the Christmas story was happening here today, where I live, I wonder how they would tell it … (Luke 2:8-20.)
And there were, in the same country, cattle farmers, keeping watch over their cattle by night. And lo, an angel appeared unto them and they were not so much sore afraid as they were just sore. Long day.
The angel is understandably surprised. So far, having an angel suddenly appear before you has made people fearful and perplexed. “Why aren’t you afraid?” the angel asks, “I’m an angel.” And one of the cattle farmers replied “oh, we see angels every day. This is Bashaw, the church here has this Angels Among Us thing that reminds us who the real angels are in our community.” The others all nod. “Hey, if you help us out, we’d nominate you and you could get a cool toque and a little angel with your name on it tied to the rail of the church. And then everyone knows you’re an angel. It thanks folks and inspires others to be angels, too.” Another looked up from their camp fire. “Maybe, that way, people will be less afraid of you all the time.”
“Oh, that does sound tempting,” replied the angel. “Okay. I can help you: I have news.”
“We were hoping for something to eat, or a warm beverage.”
“Nope,” said the angel, “it’s news. Big news. Good news, even, tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the town of Bashaw a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you: you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, bundled up against the cold, with his parents, in an old car that’s out of gas, parked in front of the Bashaw and Area Community Resource Centre. They’re not from here, they just got here, they don’t have any money, and they’ve got no place to go. They’ll be easy to spot.”
And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of angels singing “Glory to God in the highest! Peace and goodwill to all!” And then they were gone.
“They were really good,” said one cattle farmer. “Like the Mormon Tabernacle Choir,” said another. “Hey, I think we should go check this out,” said a third, and they all jumped in a nearby truck and drove into town.
They pulled up in front of BCRC and got out. There was no one there.
And lo, an angel appeared unto them again, this time wearing a pink toque with the Angels Among Us logo on the front.
“Hey guys, sorry, they’re at the hotel. Yeah, it turns out the folks at the Bashaw and Area Community Resource Centre saw them and helped them get a room at the hotel, some food and a couple of gas cards.”
One of the cattle farmers gives the angel a friendly punch on the shoulder and says “I told you, there’s angels everywhere here.”
“So I see,” said the angel. “And they’re sure needed. That’s what this child is all about: showing people how important it is to love and care for each other. They’re getting a good start here. And a good thing, too, because things aren’t merry and bright for everyone, especially these days. We need more angels.”
“We should go see how they’re doing,” said one of the cattle farmers, “see if there’s anything we can help with.” “And we should call some friends, too,” offered another. “Maybe they could bring some gifts.”