Into this nighttime darkness, to shepherds tending their flocks, came angels. Now, they might have just appeared as men, and walked quietly up to the shepherds. But most of the time we envision a very bright angel appearing in the sky, then being joined by many, many more. Scripture tells us they were terrified. Well, yes! The night is dark and calm, the sheep are sleeping, the shepherds may be talking quietly as they listen for the sound of predators. Into this calm quiet comes...BAM!! light, sound, speaking, singing, angels for goodness' sake! No wonder they were terrified. And the angel tells them to be calm. Be still. To not be afraid, in fact, to rejoice. It's no wonder they decided o go into town to see what the angels were talking about. In their shoes, wouldn't you?
Loving God, into the darkness of the night came the light of angelic messengers. Into the darkness of our world came the light of Messiah. Into the darkness of our lives you continue to come, often in the form of love from friends and neighbors. Some of us are struggling with doubt, fear, and grief, but we know that no matter what we face your light of love will go with us and before us. No matter how dark the night may be, Joy comes with the morning. May your love and mercy surround us, and beckon us out of our darkness into the light, to see what new thing you are doing today. Amen.