Wednesday, December 03, 2008
The Shepherds of Christmas
Jesus says “I am the Good Shepherd.” John 10: 11. I have found that shepherds in Jesus time were looked down upon. They were continually in the field with their sheep and could not keep the rules of the orthodox, hand washing, ceremonial cleansing and stated hours of prayer. I have heard them called the homeless of their day. They did the hardest most time consuming work for the smallest of pay. Society did not think much of them but yet scripture, Old and New, is full of their example. I find comfort that Jesus identifies himself with the most humble of people. The shepherds may not have been able to keep the rules of the orthodox, but they spent their time with a strong awareness of God. Whenever they slept under the stars and were caught in the elements of nature, they, more than others were aware of God’s presence. I am reminded of the story of Christ birth. When God announced the birth of his son he did not announce it to the wealthy or the powerful. He did not announce it to Caesar. He did not announce it to Herod. He did not announce it the orthodox, Scribes and Pharisees. He did not announce it to the wise. The Magi had to study, search, and seek, but God split the skies open with angels who said to the humble shepherds, He’s over there! Be last of all. Be servant of all. Sit in the last chair.