After learning the words to the song “The First Noel” well enough to be able to sing my six-year-old heart out one Christmas season, I asked my mother about the meaning of a phrase in the song, “to certain poor shepherds.”
“What did God do to the shepherds?” I implored with heartfelt earnest. “What does it mean to certain someone?” Thinking the word was a verb instead of an adjective, I needed to know exactly God changed the shepherds that night. More specifically, I wanted to know how I could become certained, too.
Frankly, I don’t remember her exact answer, other than it had something to do with reading the Bible, Jesus being born, and the Christmas season; her second answer had more to do with me asking the questions to someone else another time. I always needed spiritual depth in the answers to my many questions, just as I do now. However, my mother had her hands full with a newborn daughter and a three-year-old that demanded a lot more attention than Mother was able to give. With a muscle disease to manage, a husband that was gone a lot, and her own household to manage, answers to my many questions weren’t her main focus at the time.
So, for years, I just assumed that God certained those particular Shepherds, an unknown result making them special enough to be part of every Christmas manger scene I have ever noticed. Many years later, I had a good laugh, realizing that the word certain in the song meant that the angels sang their Noels to specific shepherds, probably those that had the God-given sense to follow the star.
Lately, I’ve revisited the word certained, even though every dictionary I’ve consulted never lists it as a verb. Perhaps it should be though. After all, aren’t each of us specially made as we leave the comfort of our mother’s womb? Aren’t each of us created in the image of God, created as a part of Divine Love, and aren’t each of us supported every moment of every day and night by Divine Spirit, whether we know it or not?
Think about this for a moment. Do you have the God-given sense to awaken to your own inner Divinity? To follow that special star created just for you? You have one, you know. Not the kind of star that the Shepherds saw lighting up the sky at night, but something just as phenomenal, if not more special. It’s not hanging out there in the cosmos, but is inside your heart, part of your Soul. You access it through your intuition (the voice of the Soul), your inner wisdom, and your faith – however you choose to believe. Be still enough to listen, be astute enough to incorporate and then claim the direction of life that suits you best, and keep moving forward, however you are able.
Without a doubt, you can do this, just like the Shepherds did. Just like them, you have indeed been certained by nature of your birth. You are part of a Loving Presence – cells, body, thoughts and all, whether you appreciate it or not. You are quite special. You really are!