The next morning’s breakfast was hasty, as they wished to rush to the end of their journey. Just as they began to urge the camels to rise with their packs and saddles, a group of shepherds rushed up to them.
“You have our sheep!” one shouted. “Stop, thieves!”
Kaspar immediately got out of his saddle. “No, we are not thieves. We found your flocks wandering without guidance, and kept them with our animals for the night.”
An older shepherd pulled the arm of the one who had shouted, and forced him back. “Please pardon his rude words, sir. We left our sheep to follow a star, and saw –” the man’s dirt-smudged, bearded face suddenly glowed. He paused and began again. “We have seen the Messiah!”
The three wise men gathered around the ragged, dirty shepherds. “You have seen Him! Where is He? May we go to Him?”
“He lies in a manger, in a stable not far from here. The stable is on the outskirts of Bethlehem,” the older man continued.
“In a manger? It is true He is but a babe, then?” Balthazar asked, incredulously.
“But He is born to be King of the Jews,” another shepherd offered. “For last night we did see angels, who took us to Him.”
“Angels,” Kaspar repeated. “What wonders we should have seen. If only the storm had not delayed us so!”
A small boy walked up then. “You will see the angels too,” he told the wise men shyly. “For they fly over the stable as they sing.”
“And what songs we heard!” The voices of the shepherds tumbled over one another as they each tried to be heard. “They were glorious!” “That is what they were singing: Glory, glory, glory to God! On earth peace, and good will toward men.” “They filled the sky with their wings and voices, and music!” “We heard voices that sounded more sweetly than any bells could ring.”
Please hug your cats very tightly tonight. And may we all be blessed with the joy of following our hearts.