uesday, 25 December 2007
Christmas through the Eyes of a Shepherd
He Found Me.
I still can’t believe it happened—at all or to me. I never thought it would happen, at least not this way, or that being the second born son of my family it would happen to me. I had better stop a moment to record what happened to me…the second son of my father—and just another shepherd on the hills of Judea.
“Get up.” Jesse grunted as he kicked my foot in his signal it was my turn to keep watch with the men. I liked the sound of that—with the men. I did not care so much for getting up in the middle of the night. I much preferred sleeping in my comfortable bed on the floor.
I rose slowly, rubbed the sleep from my eyes and waited for my eyes to adjust to the darkness. I willed myself to stay awake as I surveyed the sleeping forms of my family about the room. I stood and staggered sleepily to the door, once outside I could hear the low murmur of the other shepherds.
I noted with relief and great satisfaction the full moon that hung suspended in the night sky. It is much easier to keep watch over the sheep when the moon is full. When there is no moon it is very difficult to see the wild beasts that would devour the sheep until it is too late.
“Judah, so nice of you to join us tonight.” The men joked at my arrival. It is no secret I’d rather be sleeping at night. But somehow I think after this night I won’t mind so much.
I hadn’t been out there long—just long enough though to realize this was just an ordinary night. I soon lost myself in looking at the stars. “As numerous as the stars of heaven, so shall your descendants be.” That is what God told my ancestor Abraham. I have tried to count the stars but have always given up. There are just too many of them.
As I watch the flock, I dream of adventure. King David had been a shepherd and he became one of our greatest kings, and he was a great mighty hunter. His life was full of excitement and adventure. So far though nothing remotely bordering on an exciting adventure has touched my life. Night after night I sit out here watching the sheep, while I dream of rising up and throwing off the Romans and somehow being big enough, man enough to get God to talk to us again.
Our last prophet died 400 years ago. Since that time we’ve heard only silence from the heavens.
I ponder how I can rise up like David when he killed Goliath—only I would rid Israel of all things Roman. As I am planning my battle strategy when suddenly I am blinded…and terrified.
I fall face down in terror, I assumed all the men did the same because I hear a voice from the area of the most brilliant light I have ever seen, saying, “Do not be frightened.”
If I wasn’t so scared I would say, “Who are you kidding?” But I’m too afraid. I can’t remember ever being this afraid in my life. The disembodied voice goes on, “I bring you great and joyous news. Your Messiah has been born. You’ll find Him swaddled in clothes and sleeping in a manger in Bethlehem.”
Just as quickly as he appeared a whole multitude of angels were singing: “Glory to God in the highest and peace to men on earth.” Then just like that they were gone. And we were left to find it out for ourselves.
We ran as though our life depended on it all the way to Bethlehem. It didn’t take long once we arrived in Bethlehem to find the right manger. He looked like a baby, but not just any baby. There was just something about him, something…just what I don’t know—I’m just an ignorant shepherd boy longing for adventure.
And I think I found it—or rather He found me.
I couldn’t help running through out the town telling everyone I met, “The Messiah! The Messiah has been born! Come and see.”
Oh yes, I might have been longing for adventure but He found me!
© Virginia Garrett 12/23/07