Simply Christmas Reading - Shepherds
Shepherds at the manger.
There they are - in every nativity play we've ever seen.
You can always tell them -
they're the ones in the dressing gowns with the tea towels on their heads.
And why not?
After all living where we do in Scotland, we all know shepherds.
They're nice people, we like them -
some of our best friends are shepherds -
and as for their dogs, they're just wonderful!
2000 years ago it was a different story.
Shepherds were little better than social outcasts -
and about as popular as street sweepers in India under the caste system.
Definitely not the sort of people to be allowed near
a new baby........and yet they were there!!!
Their job was unpleasant, lonely and very dangerous -
in those days large carnivores - wolves, bears and even the odd lion
- still roamed in Israel.
The shepherd was expected to die rather than lose a single sheep.
So they were the people the local community could best do without -
if the worst came to the worst.....!
3000 years ago, there was another shepherd -
who became a king - David.
Do you realise what the fact he was a shepherd meant?
That he was the one his family could best do without
if a wolf attacked their precious flocks.
Years later David wrote a psalm, which begins
"The Lord is my shepherd "
- the best known psalm in the world.
For David, this was not a cosy picture
- what he meant was -
"for me the Lord will lay down His life" -
"for me the Lord is expendable - willingly, wholly expendable"
David, the shepherd boy...........
Christ, the Good Shepherd......
meeting with everyday shepherds at the manger..........
Simple, uncomplicated men!
copyright(c): Elizabeth Tolson 1998.
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