“We interrupt this silent night with an important news bulletin.”

I wish I knew who to credit with that quote… all I know for sure is that it’s from a musical called The Greatest Gift of All that we did when I was in second grade. So is this little ditty that followed it, complete with angels dancing the Charleston:

Extra, extra, hear all about it!
Extra, extra, we gotta shout it!
Glory, glory, oh, what a story,
We’ve got news for you!

Shepherds, shepherds, wake up and hear us!
Lend an ear, Messiah is near us!
Glory, glory, oh, what a story,
We’ve got news for you!

Peace on earth
And goodwill to men!
Jesus’ birth
Is the greatest news there’s ever been!

So sing it, sing it, sing hallelujah!
Sing it through the kingdom of Judah!
Glory, glory, oh, what a story,
We’ve got news for you!

[news-anchor narration that I can’t fully remember but that ends with: “And that’s the good news for tonight!”]

Peace on earth
And goodwill to men!
Jesus’ birth
Is the greatest news there’s ever been!

So sing it, sing it, sing hallelujah!
Sing it through the kingdom of Judah!
Spread the word ’til all have heard,
Because it’s really true!
Extra, extra, hear all about
The extra, extra, extra good
News we’ve got for you!
We’ve got news for you! (Yeah!)

Now, of course that’s not the way it really happened. But that silent night the shepherds had been hoping for–given that “boring” at least meant that there were no thieves or predators afoot and the flock was all present, accounted for, and healthy–really was preempted by… well, I’ll let Linus explain:


“Life with God is a collision course,” Pastor V noted on Sunday. And when God the Son came to Earth, not only did the angels’ announcement collide spectacularly with the shepherds’ plans, but it also collided with society’s expectations. And those expectations weren’t exclusive to Jewish or even Roman society. Eight hundred years later, when Louis the Pious commissioned an epic verse retelling of the Bible to evangelize the Saxons, the poet had to turn the shepherds into horse-guards to prevent the Saxon noblemen from rejecting the story out of hand because shepherds were too socially unacceptable to bear witness to the birth of a great King. (You can read all about it in The Heliand: The Saxon Gospel by G. Ronald Murphy, SJ.) And I’m sure there are still cultures where people can’t get their heads around the idea that God could and did choose the lowly over the proud to bear witness to the greatest of miracles.
And that’s exactly why He did so. It’s the last choice a human author would make, which makes it an obvious choice for the Author of history, Who wanted to leave no doubt as to His authorship.

Glory, glory, oh, what a story….

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