In those days,
in those long
warn out days,
in a long worn
—a world clunking
along like an old clock, gears grinding along, but without purpose or
In those old days, there was a certain kind of peace.
The peace of Emperor Caesar Augustus
—Caesar the Revered One.
because he was the one who climbed out of the Roman Civil War
over the bodies of:
Mark Antony and
He’d survived all that, and imposed a
steel rule over that what remained. He held the Empire together through Roman Peace
—also known as
Peace by Superior Fire Power.
Caesar Augustus’ peace was essentially
a blackmailing of Rome
and all she’d conquered.
kidnapping… a letter slid under glass to a bank teller stating, “Stick close to me and no one gets hurt.”
A rule based on fear, not consent.
And for that absence of war
—for filling the
power vacuum left by Julius Caesar’s death
—he was declared Son of the Divine.
In those days, it was etched on rock, “Praise Augustus a Savior who has made war
to cease and who shall put everything in peaceful order.”
And in these old days it is important
that we don’t judge those old days.
filling power vacuums with non-violent, or at least non-chaotic, forces…
The absence of
war, even if it’s not peace…
Security even if
it means a certain amount of tyranny…
It is easy to
want to settle for that…
But, we know
even instinctually, that it is a fear
driven kind of peace…
For that matter,
sometimes just getting through another day feels like an acceptable end in and
But such a limited life may not even deserve the name.
In those days, Augustus brought the kind of peace that fears so fully
that it sends heavily pregnant women across borders…
Fear that forces
a woman to deliver her child while traveling…
Fear that finds
a father unable to provide even a guest room for his wife…
Not even a crib
for his newborn child.
And out there,
outside the gates of Bethlehem,
a people often
left outside the gates…
A people associated with animals and
—a people who
saw everything and everyone coming into
the gates, and so were great gossips, to be believed but not to be
Now, what is a Shepherd? Well, I
always remember the bumper sticker on my parents cooler—it said:
“If you can’t
trust a Biker, who can you trust?”
what we’re talking about here:
“If you can’t trust a Shepherd, who can you trust?”
Those shepherds got to be witness to
the greatest bit of gossip the world
has ever known—the first to hear the gospel!
The first to
hear a new thing in this old world,
The first to be
a bridge between those old days to this day, this new day!
Angels come to them…
What are they doing out there?
The Angels of heaven arrive on
earth—imagine the weirdness of that
indicates that heaven is down, the universe has upended itself, and this is an
It’s like a scene from a movie
focuses tightly on an angel’s wing and the sky
—the stars all
up there, only to flip around and rightsize at the last moment, revealing the
angel is not flying, up there in the
sky, but instead standing, right
here, right here on earth!
The holy is not
up there, but right here, right here on earth!
In the book “Ender’s Game” the
characters play an elaborate laser tag/capture the flag game in zero-gravity,
and the main
character realizes spatial orientation doesn’t matter in zero-gravity,
that if you
re-think where you are in the room, and see your opponent’s goal as down then
the game, instead of being about dodging and hiding, is about falling well, landing in your enemy’s goal.
So too, the orientation of earth has
shifted, heaven is on earth, God has arrived here
is just an elaborate falling into His arms.
Yes, with the arrival of angels heaven
has come down, and the tired promises of those days are eclipsed with the true promises of this day!
No more the worn out promises of
safety by blackmail, a Caesar crowned atop the bodies of those he brutalized
and beat, the peace he keeps by keeping a lid on it all.
Instead the one who is Savior,
is a baby bound
in bands of cloth,
set in a slop
A tiny child
—a small human,
filled with God,
filled with all
those proud promises made by Caesar,
but backed up by
blessing instead of force.
The host of angels is an army
invasion of Caesar’s world,
An invasion on behalf of this little
—an invasion like no other, (other than
maybe The Beatles)
an invasion by a song,
an invasion that
woos the world,
singing a better
all our false
all our armies
of interests and security and tyranny,
all that squared
off against a song
Caesar’s song of
Our song of
against one of praise and pondering, and fear doesn’t have a chance!
--A song to
shepherds outside the gates
--A song these
shepherds sing to Mary and Joseph there a long way from Nazareth,
--A song there
before little Jesus in the lowly manger.
reverberating in Mary’s heart.
A song Jesus
later sings to the crowds.
A song sung to
Samaritans and Sabbath breakers,
Sung to the lost
and the least.
A song sung for
his whole life long
Sung there on
the cross for us,
Wooing us at whatever the cost
And sung again
on the other side of the grave.
Sung to you and
…Sung by you and
by me, as well
“Glory to God in
the highest of heavens
And peace to
God’s people here on earth!”