For a moment think back to the Christmas present you wanted most when you were a kid.
Looking back, as a child, I would have said it was the gift I wanted for Christmas during my sixth-grade year.
The summer before, a band of three brothers moved into our neighborhood. I wasn’t one bit interested in the brothers, but they had a mode of transportation that I didn’t.
They each had a bike.
I had never ridden a bike before. I didn’t know, until I felt the thrill of the wind in my hair, or the freedom it offered to travel at the speed of light, that I even needed one. The opportunity to experience what a bicycle had to offer, birthed in me the overwhelming desire to possess my very own. From that moment on I knew I desperately had to have a bicycle, because to me walking offered no comparison to heading out of my drive on two wheels. From that summer until days before Christmas, if someone had asked me what I wanted for Christmas, my answer came faster than a speeding two-wheeler, “A bike!”
And I wasn’t the only one. Each of us four sisters and one of our brothers felt exactly the same way. Our youngest brother was too young to know that a bike could be life changing. Yes, it was the desire of our hearts and we let Mom and Dad know in numerous ways that it was number one on the Christmas wish list.
But six kids in a family and a meat cutter’s salary offered no hope of owning our own bikes. Every time the conversation was broached, the answer was the same, “No money.”
Our expectations were dashed and hope dwindled. We grew to understand that for that year, there would be no bikes for Christmas.
Today, if you asked me what is my best gift, my answer would be different. Today my answer would align with a group of animal caretakers who were told that a Child was born for them.
The shepherds in Luke 2 knew that they had experienced something so miraculous that it was truly life changing and they had to go immediately to receive the gift. “When the angels had left them and gone to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, ‘Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’” Luke 2:15
This band of shepherds wasted no time. They knew there was a gift waiting for them, and it was wrapped in swaddling clothes. They headed straight there. After all, they were shepherds, and they most likely knew where every manger in the area was located.