Thursday, December 26, 2013

The story of Gabriel and the Shepherds

Gabriel and the Shepherds. 

Here is the story from this year's crib service. Feel free to use in a worship situation if you wish.

This story is about a very special angel called Gabriel. Angels are God’s messengers, and you can see lots of them flying up to Heaven on our glass screen over there.

One day God the Father called the angel Gabriel to go and see him. He said he had a very important task for him to do. He was to go and see a woman in Nazareth called Mary, and tell her that she was going to give birth to a baby called Jesus. Gabriel was puzzled.
“Jesus? But that’s your son’s name.”
“Yes that’s right. He’s going to be born as a human being.”
“A human. But humans aren’t very nice. They shout at each other and fight each other. They can be really mean and horrible.”
“Yes, I know,” said God, “He is going to go and teach them how to be better and love each other. He’s going to fix it so that they don’t have to die anymore.”
“Wow,” said Gabriel. “That’s a very brave and wonderful thing to do.” And off he went. 
Nine months later God called Gabriel again. 
“Its nearly time for Jesus to be born. I’d like this birth to be really special, really unusual. I’ve got a lovely manger lined up for him. It can be a sign so that people looking for him will know they have found the right baby. All the other babies are lying in beds and cots.”
“What? A manger. A dirty, smelly manger that cows eat from?”
“Yes. But its not dirty. We’ll make sure he has some lovely clean straw, and the animals will help watch over him. Anyway, I have another task for you. I’d like you to book the angel choir to sing and I’d like you to make an announcement of the birth. A really amazing announcement. But you can only make it to one group of people.”
“Can’t we tell the whole town?”
“No. Just one group of people. Go away and have a look at all the different people in Bethlehem and decide which group you are going to make the announcement to.”
So Gabriel went away, and started visiting different groups of people. 

He thought that maybe he should look at the important people first. Surely he ought to tell the people who run Bethlehem that there is a new king. So he went to Bethlehem town hall and looked through the window. Two councillors were pushing each other. “No! I’m having the best seat at the new year dinner."
 "No, me! I’m more important than you.” 
Gabriel disguised himself as a human and opened the door.
“Go away!” they said “We’re having an important meeting.” 
So he did. These proud and horrible people didn’t deserve to hear the news. 

Then he went to see the weavers, but they were so busy weaving a piece of cloth for King Herod that they didn’t even look up to say hello to him. He coughed and tried to attract their attention but they simply weren’t listening. So he went away. 

Then he went to see the ladies who make cheese in the town. He heard them talking about the shepherds. 
“Those shepherds are horrible. They smell. I won’t talk to them.”
“No I won’t talk to them either. I’m sure they steal things when we’re not looking. And they never go to the synagogue to pray.”
“Well isn’t that because they have to stay in the fields to look after the sheep?”
“That’s no excuse. I bet they’ve got fleas.”
Gabriel thought the cheesemakers were cruel saying such nasty things about a whole group of other people. So he went to see the shepherds. He hid behind a tree so he could listen to what they were saying without them seeing him.
“No-one ever talks to us. When we say hello to them they never say hello back and when I go into a shop they put everything away behind the counter. They don’t trust us.”
“I don’t have any friends. People think we’re dirty and smelly. Nobody loves us. We never get invited to anyone’s parties.”
“I’ve never been invited to a birthday party in my whole life.”
“Oh that’s so sad.” thought Gabriel. “Well this birthday party is one you will get invited to!” 
He called up the angel choir, turned on the shiny lights on his robes and appeared to the shepherds in all his glory.
“Wow” the shepherds said. “Don’t be afraid!” Gabriel said. “I bring you the most joyful news ever announced, and it is good news for everyone! 
“Even us?” the shepherds said “Yes. Especially you.” Gabriel replied. “The Saviour baby Jesus has been born tonight in Bethlehem! You’ll find him wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger.”
Then the angel choir began to sing some fantastic music so beautiful that it took the shepherds’ breath away. 
“Wow! That was amazing” they said.”Lets go and see the new baby”
So they went down the hill to Bethlehem, taking their sheep with them, and saw Mary, Joseph and the baby. When baby Jesus saw them he gave an extra big smile and stretched out his tiny baby hands. 
“At last there is somebody who is pleased to see us.” 
It was a day the shepherds remembered for the rest of their lives, and the funny thing was, that after that, everyone else in town started to be nicer to them too.  



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