“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” (Prov. 17:22)
I went in the direction that the sheep had said, and before long I could see the campfire of the shepherds in the field.
They had some dogs with them watching over the flocks and I thought I could ask them about my family.
I was just about to reach the dogs and their flocks, when suddenly there was a bright light in the sky brighter than the sun!
I was so afraid that all I could do was lie on the ground and cover my eyes.
As the shepherds and dogs and sheep all fell to the ground, a shining angel appeared in the sky. He said,
“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”
All of a sudden the whole sky was filled with a choir of angels and they all began to sing.
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”
And then just as suddenly as they had appeared, the choir was gone, the angel was gone, and the light was gone too.
The sky was black with twinkling stars and it was so quiet that not even the sheep were making any noise.
I realized that I had just seen a miracle!
Something holy had just happened here. The angel had said that a Savior was born, Christ the Lord, and He was lying in a manger!
He must have meant Mary! She must have had her baby.
There was a manger in the stable that the animals ate out of. I forgot about finding my family and I started running back to town.
I had to get to Joseph and Mary. I had to help those kind strangers that had helped me.
I ran as fast as I could back to the town of Bethlehem. I got to the stable and ran through the door, and stopped.
I couldn’t believe my eyes!
There was Mary sitting by the manger and Joseph was standing by her side.
All of the animals were kneeling in their stalls. The shepherds from the field were there too, kneeling and looking into the manger. How did they get there before me?
And then I saw my family.
There was Mom and Dad and Brother. They were kneeling too and looking into the manger. I even saw Marvin. He was by Brother and was kneeling on the ground.
I couldn’t understand what was happening. How did everybody get here? Why was everyone kneeling and looking at the manger?
I started to say something, when suddenly there was the sound of a baby coming from inside the manger.
Everyone that was there turned and looked at me and smiled. They moved aside so that I could come and see.
Joseph looked at me and smiled and waved for me to come.
I walked up to the manger and gently put my head in over the side so that I could see.
There was a baby wrapped in linen rags and laid on the straw. He was so beautiful that it seemed like His face was shining.
But there was something special about this baby. Something Holy. He looked so noble and royal.
Even though He had just been born, it seemed that He had the face of a King.
I felt like I couldn’t keep standing while I was looking at Him.
So this was the baby that the angel told us about.
This was the Savior of the world. This was Christ the Lord.
I blinked while looking at the Savior, and when my eyes opened I was back lying on the floor next to Dad’s chair in our living room.
I was back home in the little gray house!
The lights on the tree were still shining and twinkling. Mama and Brother were still there too, and the Christmas carols were still playing softly on the radio.
Dad closed his Bible and said, “And that’s the Christmas story. That’s the real meaning of Christmas.”
So it had all been just a dream. But it had seemed so real!
I must have been listening to Dad read the Christmas story while I was sleeping and it made me have the strange dream. But maybe it wasn’t just a dream after all.
Maybe it was the Creator’s way of showing me what Christmas was really all about.
I had thought Christmas was all about the tree, and decorations, and presents. I thought it was these things that made Christmas the happiest time of the year.
But the angel of the Lord had said “peace on earth” and “good will toward men.” God had sent the Christ Child on that Holy night, a Savior to save the people from their sins.
That’s what makes people happy. That is the real Spirit and meaning of Christmas.
Everything else is nice, but without Christ the Lord, they really have no meaning at all.
It’s really not hard to understand.
Not even for a little black dog who grunts like a pig.