Thoughts of a Shepherd

What if you met one of the shepherds the morning after the angels appeared in the sky announcing the arrival of Christ? It might go something like this….  

 Did you hear what happened? I’ve never experienced anythin’ like it! Just last night I was out tendin’ the sheep. It was still and calm and not too cold. It was the kind of night a shepherd like me looks forward too. The sky was clear, and I could see thousands of stars twinklin’ overhead.

            The sheep were bedded down for the night, but it was weanin’ time for some of the lambs and they wouldn’t quit bleatin’, wantin’ their mamas. I was busy tryin’ to reassure them when a brilliant light like none I’d ever seen filled the sky. The sheep, they stopped bleatin’ and looked up at the sky. I didn’t know what was goin’ on, but I started tremblin’ like a leaf in a windstorm. My heart seemed to speed up, and I couldn’t speak. For there in the sky was, was, an angel! Believe it or not that’s what it was – it had wings and everythin’.

           I shook my head and rubbed my eyes, tryin’ to wake myself up, ’cause I thought I had fallen asleep, and this was one wild dream. It didn’t work. The angel was still there, and the light was still shinin’ bright as day. I looked over at Josh, and he was shakin’ just ’bout as bad as I was. Then the angel started talkin’ and I ’bout fell over right then and there. I’ll never forget his words. He said, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

            I was thinkin’, “Good news! Boy I could use some of that, that’s for sure. I’ve been real short on good news lately. Well, until this angel showed up that is.”

            Well, let’s see where was I? Oh yeah, the angel! He said, “Today in the town of David, a savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” He then said we’d know it was him because there’d be a sign. The babe would be wrapped in swaddlin’ clothes and lyin’ in a manger.” Now why would the savior, the great Messiah, be lyin’ in a manger? I was thinkin’ it over when the sky became even more brilliant, and a whole passel of angels appeared in the sky. There was so many I couldn’t even count. Their wings was beautiful, and their voices, well they was about the prettiest thing I ever heard. They started singin’ saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

            Then, they was gone. Just like that. We all stood around with our mouths gapin’ open like fish out of water. I don’t know how long we stood like that, but finally Ben spoke up. “A savior? Did you hear that! A savior! I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m goin’ to find him.” He grabbed up his staff and started down the road.

            “Wait up!” I hollered. “I’m comin’ with you.” Pretty soon all of us was headin’ down the road into Bethlehem. Once in town, we divided into small groups and went huntin’. Now I know we shepherds ain’t the sharpest tools in the shed, but we figured if the babe was in a manger, we should look in the caves around the city where the locals kept their livestock at night. Most of ’em were dark and full of animals, but we got up along the far side of the village when we heard the cry of a babe. “Did ‘ya hear that?” I said. “It’s him! It’s him!” and we all started runnin’. We couldn’t get there fast enough.

            Sure enough we saw light dancin’ in the openin’ of the next cave. We neared the entrance, and it got all quiet like. No one was sayin’ a thing. All I could hear was the breathin’ of those around me and the gentle slap of their sandals on the ground. A man came out and greeted us.

            “Good evening Gentlemen,” he said. “My name is Joseph. Can I help you?”

            “We came to see the babe. Angels appeared to us in the sky. They lit it up like daytime and said that the Messiah has come. Please, can we see him?” asked Ben.

            Joseph smiled at us. “Certainly,” he said. He stepped aside, holding out his arm to welcome us.

            I walked into the cave behind Benjamin, and there he was, the savior. I just sat down right there on the ground and gazed at his face. His eyes were open, and you could tell he was lookin’ around tryin’ to see all the faces that was peering at him. He was beautiful. The next thing I knew, tears was flowin’ down my face. Here I was an old scruffy shepherd, and I was starin’ at the face of God. I felt, unworthy. Why did the angels come to us? We’re just shepherds. We ain’t nothin’ fancy or all that important, but they came. They came to us! We was the first ones they told. Can you believe it? The Messiah! He’s finally come!


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