I love this passage. I love that the first response the shepherds have is one of fear. They are fearful of what they do not recognize, of what is new, unknown to them.
And the Angel reassures them to trust and push away fear, though the experience of seeing an angel in the field at night is unfamiliar. And because the shepherds remain open and listening, they learn, they experience the truth and beauty of God, in the most humble of circumstances ---- baby Jesus, is born in a manger.
I love this passage because it reminds me that the experience of God has come for me most often, in the smallest, often unexpected places, sometimes in moments of struggle, sometimes in community, but sometimes in the most quiet places, in the simplest moments. This passage reminds me to be vigilant and to pay close attention. It reminds me to stay awake, to trust, even when I am afraid or distracted with daily worries.
The other night, after reading a story, my children and I fell asleep. They were cuddled in close, sleeping on either side of me. Several hours later I woke up and just laid there, feeling them breathing against me, the three of us breathing our own rhythms, but breathing. Breathing all together. I thought about this passage again and knew that this moment was exactly what it was about. About how the breathing, rising and falling inside of me and from each of my children on either side of me was exactly the Glory of God in the highest, found right there in the most basic, simplest of moments. And I remembered to always be paying attention.