🎄 Not Mine to Keep
Not Mine to Keep
by Debbie Roome
The light of the star drenched their faces, outlining their robes in gold and silver. Whispers echoed through silent streets. “This must be the place … it’s as the angel said … the Messiah must be here.”
I watched through the stable entrance as they moved closer, voices muted now. I could see they were shepherds by the staffs they carried. Protective instincts welled up and I laid a hand on the manger, ignoring the cramps that gripped my womb, the stench of the animals dozing in the corner.
“I’ll see what they want,” Joseph said, his voice strong. He strode out of the stable and the conversation filtered back to me.
“We were watching over our flocks when an angel appeared,” one of them exclaimed. “A magnificent shiny being. Truly I thought we were going to die. But no, he had a message for us.”
An older man picked up the story. “The angel stood next to us, and it was almost like daylight! He said, “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 Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
“That’s right,” the first shepherd confirmed, “and then he was joined by a choir of angels.” He stopped and looked heavenward, overcome with emotion. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. The fields were sparkling with light and they were praising God, singing glory in the highest.”
I loved the expression on Joseph’s face as he turned to look at me. Such a good wise man. I nodded. “Let them come in.”
I propped myself up on one elbow, the manger next to me. Baby Jesus was swaddled tightly but awake, his eyes liquid and deep. The shepherds entered slowly, with a rustling and a whisper; a pebble skittered down the street behind them. They were simple men, cloaked with the odour of sheep, hands stained with dirt. They gathered around the manger, heads bowed, whispering prayers.
I relaxed against the straw, wondering if the angel who visited me was the same one who appeared to these shepherds. Their visit was yet another confirmation of what the Lord had spoken to me. That this child was destined to be a king, a saviour, the Messiah.
I smiled at them, sensing even then that this babe was not mine to keep. He belonged to the world, to the broken and lost, to the humble and poor in spirit. He would rule and reign with love and compassion. “Touch him,” I invited. As the shepherds reached rough but gentle hands into the manger, I folded the moment into my heart, sensing this was just the beginning.