Bonnie Alba
News traveled slow -- 2000 years ago
By Bonnie Alba
December 23, 2008

Are you on information overload? It's not surprising. We are constantly bombarded with news, continuously processing what we take in from newspapers, radio, television and now the global internet. Today's news is old news, pushed aside by fresh news almost instantaneously.

There is one story which refuses to leave and continues to defy time — the birth of a baby wrapped in cloths and laid in a manger in a small town called Bethlehem. By today's technological standards, we would consider those times archaic. News was spread by runnders and word-of-mouth. But, as it turned out, there were broadcasters present for this momentous event and that is the rest of the story.

There were these simple, devout shepherds watching over their flocks in fields outside Bethlehem. Possibly they were catching up on the local news while taking turns watching for predators or thieves who might steal their sheep.

Let's try to put ourselves in the sandals of these shepherds: (From Luke 2:8-20)

It's just another ordinary night, the sky bright with stars. Possibly we were discussing the crowds in Bethlehem who had come from far and wide for the census and to pay taxes.

Suddenly the starry sky changes in an instant. What is it? The light is different. As we stare upwards, an "angel of the Lord appears to 'us' and the glory of the Lord shone around 'us,' and 'we' were terrified."

In that split second, there is complete and sheer terror. No time to grasp what was happening or even comprehend; our bodies trembling, our hearts pounding. We felt an urge to run, find the nearest cave, hide. For surely this is not good!

Then the angel speaks, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby in a manger."

Our fear and shock turned to amazement while our minds still wanted to deny what was happening to us. As if to produce further evidence that this was God's angel, the heavens opened and a chorus of angels joined the primary angel praising God and singing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests."

When the angels were gone and the night sky returned to normal, still shaking in our sandals, we talked about all that had happened. We decided to go to Bethlehem "to see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." Investigative reporters?

We found Joseph and Mary at the stable and the baby Jesus lying in a manger, just as the angel had told us. It is probable that we shared our wondrous experience with Joseph and Mary while gazing upon this special child, for "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."

Excited by all that had happened to us and seeing the baby Jesus, we ran through Bethlehem's streets telling all whom we met about this event. "...and all who heard it were amazed." I suspect a few were thinking we shepherds were nutty as fruitcakes. Drawn back to the manger and to our sheep, we were "glorifying and praising God for all the things 'we' had seen, which were just as 'we' had been told." Our lives were changed forever by the miracle of a baby's birth.

The shepherds were the reporter-broadcasters and in a few hours this miraculous event was broadcast throughout Bethlehem. The people from afar would return to their towns and villages and spread the news of this wondrous event.

If this event happened today instead of 2000 years ago, would it have been front-page news? Not at all. Perhaps it would have been published as a short paragraph under "Strange or odd events" with reference to "seeing things" in Bethlehem. There might be mention of UFOs or strange lights and beings.

Each year, we celebrate and rejoice at Christ's birth reminding us that our Savior lives even now and continues to point the way for all mankind to the biblical Creator-God. His purpose and plan is recorded in His Word — an eternal history — past, present, and future. Good News indeed!

Merry Christmas!

© Bonnie Alba


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Bonnie Alba

(Editor's note: Bonnie Alba passed away on February 12, 2017. You can read her obituary here.)

Bonnie Alba is a "politically incorrect" researcher-writer. Since 1995, her articles have appeared in California newspapers. Previously she served in various Department of Defense positions for over 16 years... (more)


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