“And this shall be a sign unto you: ye shall find a babe wrapped in swaddling cloth, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)
When the time was fulfilled, and Jesus was to be born, the Lord God gave a sign that would bear witness to all generations to come. The child who came to redeem all creation began his life lying in a manger. He was born into the company of God's most humble creatures: the animals who had been created to be man's companions. The birth of Jesus, in this stable, was the sign that all beings—human and animal—were to be redeemed.
After the child was laid in the manger, God sent His messenger to bring good tidings to those men who had found favor in His sight. And the angel of the Lord found shepherds who were abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
God chose these Shepherds to first hear the good news of Christ's birth because they were the faithful stewards of His creation. They were men who nurtured and cared for the animals who had been given into their care.
And the glory of the Lord shone about them and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace."
The shepherds hastened to the stable where they found the infant, warmly nestled in the straw-filled manger. And they stood with Mary and Joseph, and with the oxen, the cow, and the sheep. Together, they rejoiced in the presence of the Promised One. And for that moment, in that place, there was truly Peace on Earth. The peaceful accord between all God's creatures that had been ordained at the creation of the world. #
Hear, O my people and I will speak