After almost fifty years of reading through the Book, I am moving more slowly in my annual walk through scripture.
It's not the age, but the insights. No longer as much about God, the One beyond finding out, but we humans, so predictable.
In Luke Chapter 2, the angels appear out "in the fields nearby" Bethlehem, to a motley crew of shepherds attending their flocks. You know the story. Terrified at first, they then decide to "go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” Luke 2:15 NIV
Why the angels went there instead of the Temple is a good question, apparently the religious institutions had ignored the prophets such as Micah sufficient that no one in that generation, outside of perhaps a few academics had a clue about the babe being born in a manger.
I know, the Bible as we know it was not bound together, perhaps beyond individual scrolls and not even sure when Micah was picked back up for entry in the Old Testament scrolls.
You would think someone would have heard, "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity.” Micah 5:2
A little Wikipedia here: "Some, but not all, scholars accept that only chapters 1–3 contain material from the late 8th century prophet Micah. The latest material comes from the post-Exilic period after the Temple was rebuilt in 515 BCE, so that the early 5th century BCE seems to be the period when the book was completed."
Another writer: "During this period, while Israel was imploding from the effects of evil and unfaithful leadership, Judah seemed on a roller-coaster ride—ascending to the heights of its destiny in one generation, only to fall into the doldrums in another."
That may be the answer to my question as to why the angels appeared on a hillside and not in a sanctuary?
My guess is things in that country were not much different than we find in our own nation. The Good News of peace seemed lost to religion and bad politics.
Humans apart from a spiritual epiphany seldom change, even when they find "a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger" and celestial anomalies appearing in the sky's.
One good thing, we did preserve the tradition of the Christmas tree. That's good money!
When my wife sees this, she's gonna shoot me, she's the Christmas Queen. I likely deserve it. Just being me!