And did Abraham and Sarah, Rebekah and Isaac, Naomi and Ruth, Joseph and Moses join that cloud of witnesses that night, to hear the cries and snuffles and to catch that new baby smell? Was it crowded in the rafters of that place, as so many invisible witnesses packed the premises out? Jostling for a better view, to witness the planet shifting and to cheer on Mary and Joseph, those weary warriors who were simply struggling with life and new birth and the unexpected, and the threat of danger and the worries of keeping going, with its questions of food and safety and taxes. Not realising for a second that in the heavens the corridors were thundering with the sound of running feet as the ancient heroes came tumbling to be a part of this, and to cheer them on, and urge them to keep going and not give up. In this cosmic battle and eternal game changer.
‘Hark the herald angels sing, glory to the newborn king…’
And did Jonah and Rahab and Samson and Esther join with these eternals in this and other songs, whether they could hold a tune or not. And did they have any clue about the billions that would join them down the ages, to gather and wonder, in wide-eyed, earthy worship, and heartfelt, harried hope. Crowding together in the groaning and grit and the mundane sawdust of life, in order to catch the first whispers of peace amidst the storms, and the fragile, dawning of light in the darkness. A servant for the ages, for the future, the past and most vitally – the present. The giver that keeps on giving. With a smile and a cry, and a heart as big as a universe, and eyes that shine with understanding, courage and caring.