The Story of Christmas

Reuben Shelter is a nuCamp team member and a member of the Amish community. In honor of the Christmas season, Reuben writes about the Christmas story — the true reason for the season.

The shepherds stood on the hill, awestruck, staring at the sky. The heavens were lit up with blazing glory, turning the night sky to day. “Glory to God in the highest,” the voices of the angels thundered. “And on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” The praise of the heavenly host resonated over the hill country. Then the angels faded away, and only twinkling stars remained.

The shepherds looked at each other, then at the faint lights of Bethlehem in the valley. Then one of them said, “Let’s go see this thing which God has made known to us!”

They ran down the hill to the town. Excited thoughts tumbled through their minds. The Son of God had been born that night! The Messiah had arrived on Earth! What good news! The new king was waiting for their worship.

Surely the sight they would see would be majestic. Surely the new baby would be wrapped in linen, surrounded by soft pillows, and guarded by soldiers with glittering spears. The Son of God would be the noblest of babies, the most highly regarded birth in the history of man.

But what did the shepherds find? The door of the musty, old stable creaked open. In the dim candlelight, a cow blinked her sleepy eyes. A few sheep bleated and jumped and kicked their way into the back corner, startling the long-eared donkey tied to a rugged post.

A weary young couple raised their heads. They were crouched over a newborn baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. The baby slept content in the straw, perfectly human, perfectly divine. The young father and mother did not look surprised to see the shepherds. Instead, they moved out of the way and settled into the soft hay.

The shepherds knelt. And looking at the newborn king, they knew. The Son of God was born for each one of them. He had come to be their Savior. Fine linen and a golden crown did not belong to him.

He was born in a humble stable. He was born lowly and meek. The Son of God was not born like a king; he was born like a servant. He was born for those who seek him with a longing heart.

  *     *     *     *     *     *

The camels plodded along the dusty path. Their great heads nodded with the never-ending motion of their tireless footsteps. On and on. Always onward, toward the city of Jerusalem.

Like a beacon, a brilliant star danced high in the sky. The sign. “The king of the Jews has been born,” one of the wise men had proclaimed. And thus, the journey had begun.

The wise men arrived at Jerusalem, and from there, the star led them to Bethlehem. Eagerly, they rode into the sleepy little town. The faint streaks of daylight chased the stars away. The wise men pondered. Where would they find him? Surely he would be in one of the town’s finest houses. Surely he would be sleeping in a cradle of gold. The Son of God would be the noblest of babies. The star that had led them here promised a royal encounter, indeed.

But what did the wise men find? The door of the rickety, old stable creaked open. A cow lowed and chewed loudly on her cud. Several sheep snatched up bites of hay, then ran for the far corner. They pranced merrily around the sad-looking donkey that dozed with his nose near the floor.

A young man and woman stirred sleepily at the base of a manger, then smiled at their guests. They beckoned the wise men inside.

The eminent men from the East bowed before the manger. They laid their gifts before the little baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes. And suddenly, the wise men knew.

The Son of God was born for each one of them. He had come to be their Savior. Fine linen and a golden crown did not belong to him.

He was born in a humble stable. He was born lowly and meek. The Son of God was not born like a king; he was born like a servant. He was born for those who seek him with a longing heart.

  *     *     *     *     *     *

Today we think back to that remarkable event long ago, and we know. Jesus was born in a humble stable. He was born lowly and meek. Like the shepherds and wise men, if we seek, we shall find. We will find a Savior, the one who came to earth for each one of us.

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