The Bible tells of a group of shepherds taking care of their sheep on the hillside outside of Bethlehem the night Jesus was born. The night was as black as tar when suddenly, a bright light pierced the sky and an angel, a messenger from God, appeared. The shepherds had never seen anything like this and were completely overtaken with fear.
But the angel said to them, ““Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” Then other angels appeared, singing praises to the Lord and when they had left them and gone into heaven the shepherds did not waste a moment. They rushed to Bethlehem to see what the Angel had told them and afterwards told everyone about all they had witnessed and the good news that the Messiah had finally come!
Paraphrase Luke 2:8-20
This past week:
As others made their way through the conference room doors, each offering holiday wishes for a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, an attractive elderly woman with salt and pepper hair stood behind a three-wheeled walker waiting for a quiet moment to engage me in conversation.
The exit had nearly cleared when she moved forward and, with a mix of merriment and mischief twinkling in her hazel eyes, introduced herself and reiterated the beautifully penned name durably encased in plastic and pinned to her sweater. “I just wanted to thank you for being here today and tell you how much I liked what you had to say about Jesus never promising us a life of roses without thorns but did promise to always be with us and see us through the thorniest of life situations.” As she finished speaking, she tucked a lock of hair behind her right ear and, in a dramatic gesture obviously designed to draw attention, lifted her chin and turned her head slightly to the side. With her thumb and forefinger she sandwiched and rubbed her ear in the place where an earring should have been. She then continued by asking, “I’m wondering if you’ve noticed something missing on me today?” and retouched her naked ear.
“Why yes, I do,” I said, playing along with her game. “I see you have an earring missing.”
“That’s it exactly! I have an earring missing. I put only one on this morning. See?” She then reached up and pulled back the hair from around the other ear to display a dazzling bobble covered in glittering rhinestones. “Do you know why I only have on one earring?”
“So when someone asks me if I know I have an earring missing I can say, ‘Why yes, I do. But do you know what’s really missing this Christmas?’” And when they say, ‘No, what’s missing?’ I say, ‘What’s missing is…’ whereupon she reached across her chest to pull open the right side of her black and red poinsettia cardigan and reveal a large, long pin adorned with rhinestones, equal to if not surpassing those of her single shimmering earring, spelling the single word…JESUS . Our eyes met and, were it not for the emerald colored three-wheeler blocking the way I would have hugged her as I exhaled an “Oh” of delight.
Her husband appeared at the door and, as they made their way to his understandably yet illegally parked car sitting unattended beneath the portico at the front door, I looked on in admiration at the elderly saint cleverly using a missing earring to faithfully proclaim the message of the shepherds: “Jesus Christ is born!”
Don’t miss it. The season is Christmas. The reason is Jesus.