During the final home court basketball game in December, Taylor University basketball fans practice a tradition they call “Silent Night.” Once the game starts, the crowd stays completely silent. All that’s heard are the echoes of the basketball bouncing on the court, the squeak of the players’ shoes, and the occasional chatter among players and coaches. The gymnasium stays quiet until Taylor scores its tenth point. Once that happens—the fans cut loose and the place erupts!

Some 2,000 years ago, a group of shepherds were sitting at night in a field outside the small Judean town of Bethlehem (Luke 2:8). Their sheep could be heard milling around the hillside. Perhaps the shepherds were chatting among themselves about the events of the day or their plans for the next. Over all, it was likely a quiet, uneventful night.

But in an instant everything changed. First, an angel surrounded by bright light appeared out of the darkness and announced with great joy that a baby had been born in Bethlehem that very night (Luke 2:9-12). The shepherds were terrified. Who could blame them? An angel was probably the last thing they expected to see that night.

Before they could catch their breath and take in all that the angel had told them about the baby in a manger, a crowd of angels joined the first and began praising God. It must have been an awe-inspiring scene (Luke 2:13-14).

Just as that night turned out to be no ordinary, quiet night, the baby the angel spoke of was no ordinary baby. This baby who made the angels bust out in song was none other than Jesus. It’s His birth the world still pauses to celebrate all these years later, for He’s the Son of God who came to change and save the world!

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 1 John 1:1-10