THE CHRISTMAS CANVAS: ‘The Annunciation to the Shepherds’ by Joachim Wtewael
The first Noel, the angels did say
Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay
In fields where they lay a keeping their sheep
On a cold winter’s night that was so deep
Noel, Noel, Noel, Noel, Born is the King of Israel!
The beautiful lyrics of this Christmas carol breathe life and colour through today’s Christmas Canvas.
As night dawned hundreds of sheep that grazed the hilly slopes of Bethlehem fell quiet, except for an occasional bleat. The stars twinkled brightly in the sky. The shepherds lay down as usual taking turns to watch their flock. A few, tired at the hustle of the day, instantly fell asleep. The shepherdess talked faintly to each other. A little boy held his beloved lamb close to his heart, his soft voice soothing the animal. The cow soon dozed off. The watch dogs in alertness and faithfulness attempted to keep awake. It was a night like every other night for the Shepherds of Bethlehem.
As they tugged their heavy cloaks to protect themselves from the whistling wind, they realised that the air was getting gusty. The fire soon died out but their eyes were prepared for darkness. As the little boy scanned the hills for wolves and thieves, he thought he heard a melodious sound. He brushed it off imagining it to be a mid-night dream. But his dream got real. That night he lived his dream.
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