What’s the biggest crowd you’ve ever been in?
I’ve been to Times Square with its throng of people bustling about. I have to admit, I didn’t love that. I’ve been in huge churches with thousands in attendance. As we grow, our perceptions grow as to how big is big.
When I was a child I thought the biggest crowd ever was packed into my home church for the Christmas Eve service. Recently I had the privilege of being back to visit. It’s a tiny church. Even jammed full it would have only held a few hundred. In my mind, it was a multitude of people.
But really, how big is a multitude? A few hundred as I perceived it as a child? Thousands in some of the mega-churches around the country?
The Bible uses the term to describe the number of angels that accompanied the initial messenger who had just announced the good news. “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, good will toward men.” Luke 2:13-14 (KJV)
Daniel 7 and Revelation 5 both give us a numerical account of the host of heaven as numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. It is an enormous amount.
How many of the host of heaven showed up to join the messenger that night? Did the entire group desire to be there? Just how many made up the multitude that offered glory to God and peace on earth?
While we cannot know the answers to those questions, we can assume it was an impressive sight. Those shepherds had never in their lives ever seen anything like that before.
Yes, the sight was impressive, but the words of the angel were what completely captivated the shepherds. “…you will find the baby…”
Have those words captivated us? Have we found the Christ Child?