I wrote a song! It’s got Shepherds and Angels in it. So, it must by definition be a Christmas song. It’s astonishing when I think about it how much the shepherds feature in my Christmas thinking.
I know the Magi (Kings, Wise men, whatever) belong at Epiphany on January 6th and I realise the flight to Egypt probably happened a while after Jesus was born, but that doesn’t keep them out of the story.
But the shepherds received the word from angels in the sky on that very night. “To you this day is born….” That’s an immediate thing. Imagine the panic. Imagine the feeling of legs working independently of thought as the shepherds found themselves doing as the angels suggested and heading for town because the glory of God was shining all around and although brave they weren’t used to disobeying divine commands.
But then they arrive in the town and go looking for a baby. They have very likely run there. They already smelled of sheep. Now they smell of sweat and you know for certain there are no bathrooms in the hills above Bethlehem, so you might not want to take them by the left hand to lead them to this child.
And there is a baby. Babies sleep a lot. So you can reckon these shepherds with their muscles and hair and interesting odours and coarse manners arrive to find an asleep baby and a mother with a weary but pointed look about her who will shortly want to know exactly what they’re doing here and what that smell is. Except they’re already in a livestock pen, so maybe the smell isn’t such an urgent matter.
What next? Who knows. They worship the Christ child. We’re told they leave in high spirits praising God and telling everyone who will listen what they’ve witnessed.
And my new song covers this and more. Such as the similarity between traditional Middle Eastern fare and the humble lamb kebab you get from a chip shop these days. (Non-Brit readers may wish to do more research here, or live forever in blissful ignorance of the full horror. I recommend ignorance) and how boring it must be to be a shepherd when the sheep are asleep but you’re not and the loudest noise on the hillside is ovine flatulence.
It’s a masterpiece. But I’ve lost the little bit of paper I wrote the lyrics on. Which is why I’m writing this post. Because I’ve given up searching through the piles of rubbish around my computer and am giving up period for the night. There’s a chance my memory of the song is better than the actual song will be, should I ever find it.