The night wind spun and twirled under the stars. She shivered with delight, tearing gaily though the clouds above and rippling the grass below. Oh, what a grand night to play, she thought! Now, slowing momentarily, she surveyed the scene around her.
Below, she noticed a flock of sheep grazing in the fields outside the tiny town of Bethlehem, and a silvery laugh rippled through her. She loved making the little lambs buck and romp as she danced by. She thought little lambs were so much fun when they played in her midst.
Above, the brightness of the stars was so bright that it seemed almost like daytime, but that didn't bother her. Then, looking further above, her silvery laugh died away when she realized that the unfamiliar brightness came from just one star.
The night wind shivered with excitement, her curiosity returning, as she marveled at the star's brightness and bigness. She'd never seen such a star and she wondered what it meant, surely it meant something great. Then suddenly, she was seized by the desire to share her excitement, her joy, her discovery. She looked down, scanning the hills and dells, her excitement bubbling out in a cold sharp gust.
She spotted a little lamb, sampling the tender shoots of grass a short ways away from its flock. That is the one I will share my news with, she thought. Hardly understanding why, she felt that this news was meant for someone who was alone on this night. A silvery laugh burst from her as she blew toward the little lamb and she tickled his ear when she kissed it; the little lamb's ear flickered.
"Do you see what I see?" the night wind whispered, "Way up in the sky, little lamb?"
The little lamb continued to nibble the tender shoots of green grass and, for a moment, the night wind felt a tinge of sadness at his rejection—she only wanted him to see the great sight in the sky, but he only cared for his own agenda. Turning skyward, the night wind gazed at the star and her courage returned. She kissed the little lamb's ear again. His ear flicked again.
"Do you see what I see?" she asked again, more determined, but still gentle.
The little lamb jerked his head away. Obstinate creature, the night wind thought.
Well, so be it, she said to herself, I'll show him what there is to see.
She lifted herself above the little lamb, gaining momentum, then torn, with the force of a gale, downward and around his head. The little lamb shied, lifting his head skyward, and the night wind smiled, pleased with her effort—surely he had seen the star. She returned to kiss his ear once more. His ear flickered, but now he stood alert, his eyes wide and his nostrils flared, ready to hear her message.
"A star," she giggled, her laugher as light as a breeze, "A star, dances in the night."
The little lamb looked to and fro, scanning the sky as if it didn't understand which star to look at. Silly creature, the night wind thought, as if there could be another star more brilliant than the one that she meant.
Chuckling, she twirled around his head once more. The little lamb snorted and shook his head with pleasure. The night wind laughed gaily and freely.
"With a tail as big as a kite," she clarified, kissing his ear again.
The little lamb's ear flickered as his eyes came to rest on the beautiful star, and he seemed to murmur, "With a tail as big as a kite."
The little lamb tried to go back to what he was doing before he interrupted, but he couldn't. How could he eat when that lovely star shown so brightly in the sky? He looked toward his flock and saw some of his friends playing tag under the unusually bright sky, and stomped his foot in frustration. How could they continue their games under the brilliance of such a light and not look up? If they would just look toward the sky, they would be confronted with such greatness, brilliance, and magnificence that they wouldn't know what to do—yet they chose to play on, disregarding what was right in front of them.
The little lamb stomped his foot again. He wanted to pass on the word about the beautiful star, but he hardly knew what to say. Then, quite suddenly, the little lamb heard a lovely sound, a beautiful voice. The voice was different than anything the little lamb had ever heard before. It told of a great and wonderful event that had just happened, something that would surely change the world. The little lamb shivered with excitement. The voice told him of hope, of joy, of love—unfathomable love—and the little lamb was seized with the desire to share the voice's message. So strong and terrible was the desire that the little lamb felt that he just might die if he didn't share the message that the voice had told him.
The little lamb looked to and fro, across the wide hills and dells, searching for someone to tell. At last his eyes came to rest on a young shepherd boy, the son of his shepherd, who sat watching the flock that night with one of his father's robes wrapped around his knees. The shepherd boy shivered in the cold, but his eyes never left the flock. The little lamb felt safe knowing that the shepherd boy was looking out for them.
The little lamb approached the shepherd boy without preamble, without reservation. He knew the shepherd boy and the shepherd boy knew him, and would welcome him. He nudged the shepherd boy's ear and the shepherd boy smiled, but did not turn his head. How frustrating, the little lamb thought, didn't the shepherd boy know that he had something wonderful to tell him? Didn't the shepherd boy want to hear what the voice was singing about? The little lamb tried again, this time rubbing the shepherd boy's shoulder and arm with his head. The shepherd boy only pushed him away, his eyes never leaving the flock.
Now, the little lamb felt a deep frustration well up inside him—he simply couldn't let the voice's message die without telling someone! He looked skyward, listening to the voice and refreshing himself with its message. Then he backed away, giving himself space to gain momentum, lowered his head and charged. The little lamb struck the shepherd boy hard enough to surprise him, but not hurt him, and the shepherd boy gave the little lamb his full attention.
Good, the little lamb thought, satisfied, now he might listen!
He moved closer, nuzzling the shepherd boy's ear, then whispered, "Do you hear what I hear, ringing through the sky, shepherd boy?"
The shepherd boy seemed startled that the little lamb had spoken to him and did not reply. The little lamb nuzzled his ear again.
"Do you hear what I hear?" he repeated.
Now, seemingly coming to his senses, the shepherd boy strained to hear whatever the little lamb was talking about. All he heard was a myriad of night noises and he shook his head in confusion.
"The song," the little lamb persisted, "The song, high above the trees."
The confusion remained on the shepherd boy's features and the little lamb was saddened that the shepherd boy couldn't hear the voice that was calling out. Then he wondered if the problem might be that there were so many other voices competing for the shepherd boy's attention.
Then I must clarify which one I mean, he thought.
He came close again, nuzzling the shepherd boy's ear, saying, "With a voice as big as the sea."
The shepherd boy stared off into the distance, beginning to hear the faint sounds of one voice grow louder as all the noises soften. He smiled, knowing that he could hear the voice. "With a voice as big as the sea," he mused.
The shepherd boy smiled with joy, his heart pounding wildly, for he had seen the baby that the voice had told him about. He was such a tiny thing and the shepherd boy could scarcely fathom how the little one lying in that manger was the One who had come to save the world. In truth, he was shocked that that tiny baby was actually God.
What an amazing night I've had, he thought, then stopped. Was this the end of it? Surely not! He was suddenly seized with the desire to pass along the knowledge of what he had seen. The whole world must know, he thought.
But who could I tell, he wondered, who could spread the word far and wide? Only one answer came into his heart and he smiled for joy. Of course, of course, he thought, I will go to the mighty king.
By the time the shepherd boy reached the palace of the mighty king, his excitement had diminished. Not because he thought that his message wasn't important, but because he doubted his own importance as a messenger; surely someone more important than he had been chosen to tell the mighty king about the baby in the manger. The shepherd boy almost stopped; he almost went back to his flock…and yet, he couldn't. Something egged him on; perhaps it was the voice that told him that he was important and that he had been chosen to tell the might king what he knew.
The shepherd boy went through the huge iron gates and right up to the enormous sturdy wooden doors of the mighty king's great palace. He knocked gently, still unsure of himself, and the doors swung up. The shepherd boy sucked in a deep breath. Here goes nothing, he thought, stepping into the hall. He advanced forward timidly, treading lightly on the thick carpet, his eyes focused on the grandeur all around him. When he came to the Throne Room, the shepherd boy was startled to find that the door was already open. With nothing left to do, he walked in.
The mighty king was seated on his throne and he smiled as the timid child, the shepherd boy, approached. It pleased the mighty king that this shepherd boy had the courage to come to his throne and speak with him. For some reason, people had gotten it into their heads that the might king was lofty and unapproachable, but this was not true. The mighty king smiled, knowing that the shepherd boy didn't fear him.
The shepherd boy came to the base of the throne, and, looking up, trembling at the magnificent sight of the mighty king. He was a little surprised to see that the mighty king didn't seem annoyed that a shepherd boy had come to bother him. In fact, the mighty king was smiling, his eyes joyful.
The shepherd boy wondered how the mighty king could possibly know about the baby in the manger. How could he, the shepherd boy thought, in his nice warm palace. Maybe that's s why I am here. Well, it's now or never, he reasoned, drawing a deep breath for courage.
"Do you know what I know," the shepherd boy asked, his voice trembling, barely a whisper, "In your palace warm, mighty king?"
The mighty king sensed that the shepherd boy, despite his courage, was still nervous, uncertain that the mighty king was benevolent and good to those that came to him. The mighty king rose from his throne, laid his royal robe aside and kneeled down in front of the shepherd boy.
"Don't be afraid, child," the mighty king said, his voice gently and rolling, like distant thunder.
Somehow, hearing the might king's voice reassured the shepherd boy that he was the right person to do this job. He hardly understood why, but he suddenly knew that he could do what he'd been called to do.
He spoke again, clearly, with his new found confidence, saying, "Do you know what I know?"
The mighty king beamed, sensing that the shepherd boy had an important message to deliver. "Tell me," he said in a gentle whisper.
"A child," the shepherd boy stammered excitedly, then began again, "A child shivers in the cold; let us bring him silver and gold."
The mighty king's face turned contemplative. "Let us bring him silver and gold," he repeated, murmuring.
The mighty king stepped up to the podium, ready to give his address to the people everywhere. As he looked about him, he saw any number of activities going on. No one seemed to be paying any attention to him, but that was typical these days and getting worse every year.
Nevertheless, he was their king and he had the right to tell them what was on his mind and in his heart. They would listen if that pleased them and they would not listen if that pleased them, but he would tell them all the same.
The mighty king couldn't help but smile as he looked at the people everywhere. Though many of them did not acknowledge him, he couldn't help but to love them. They were his people and he was their king and his heart overflowed with love for them. Of course, there were a precious few that waved back when his eyes caught sight of them and his heart sang for joy at seeing those people because he knew that they loved him as much as he loved them.
It is time to begin, the mighty king thought, I have an urgent message to tell the people everywhere. The mighty king's heart surged with love as he thought of the message that he had to deliver; a message that was near and dear to him. He stepped forward, letting his voice surge out across the crowds.
"Listen to what I say," he called to the people everywhere. He continued, his voice urgent, "Pray for peace, people everywhere!"
The people everywhere continued to talk amongst themselves, unconcerned with what the mighty king had to tell them. I wonder why they come from far and wide, to sit before me, only pretending to listen to what I have to say, the mighty king thought to himself. I don't mean to inconvenience them if they don't care to listen.
The mighty king sighed. He knew that his message was worthy of their attention and he wanted them to listen, but if they chose not to, he would certainly not force them. It just befuddled him as to why they bothered to use the pretext of standing in front of him; he could plainly see that many of them didn't care in the slightest. He just hoped that other people would be able to see too; it made the mighty king angry when someone innocent was fouled by the lies of someone else.
Gathering himself, determined to get his message to the people everywhere, the mighty king would spare no expense to make sure that they heard his message.
"Listen to what I say," he said again, his voice rolling across the people everywhere like mighty thunder.
A few more people turned to listen to him, startled that his voice could reach so far. Many others continued to ignore him, but the mighty king forged ahead. If the people everywhere wanted to hear, all they had to do was be quiet and still.
"The Child," he continued, then repeated it for emphasis, "The Child, sleeping in the night; He will bring us goodness and light."
The mighty king turned his face skyward, looking up at the darkening night sky and the twinkling stars. He felt a light breeze kiss his face and heard the night wind gaily giggle, as she whispered back, "He will bring us goodness and light."
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