A Shepherds Perspective

Reading Room

A Shepherds perspective, told by “Jacob the Shepherd”!

Where are you little one? I hear ya! It’s a nice clear night. Been a Shepperd all my life. Fathers made a good life being a Shepherd, out among God’s creation. Taking care a flock of sheep that needs him. We’re low on the social order, but that’s okay. Not everybody can be a Shepherd.

I like to look at the sky. So many years ago I witnessed such a wonderful thing. I was 10 years old. I convinced my father to help watch the flocks. My dad, brothers, cousins, heard such wonderful stories, maybe it would drive away some.

The cane, the curve is to take care of the lambs. It’s a weapon to hit the wolves. Also for finding the lost sheep. Shepherds go wherever the lambs go. We’d lay our life down for our lambs. It’s a special flock.

Not too far away is a little town called Bethlehem. We’ve been here for hundreds a years. First time I went with my dad, I watched my dad on a rock. Every time I looked at my dad he was watching me. Whistle, and we’ll come! He didn’t think I could handle myself.

I went back to our fire; we called it a cove. That’s where we would have our meals. It was during one of these shifts when all of a sudden, it was the strangest commotion.

It was about midnight. All of a sudden it was light as day. I could hear my father and family had their staffs, trying to find out what was going on. Then standing before us all, was a heavenly being. An Angle he supposed. We backed away; because even as he stood the heavens opened up and as far as we could see. There were more, and the glory was all around us. And we were taught that you cannot behold the Glory of God if you were not perfect. And we knew we weren’t perfect. And we though that God would somehow smite us. But then the angle spoke to us.

He said Behold, I bring you tidings of great joy. For in the city in a manager, the Christ child is born, the savior to all men! And then the angel left and we were left to talk among ourselves about this wonderful thing, because that spirit had developed, was still amongst us and we wondered what to do; because the angel told us to go and see.

You don’t say no to an angel! How would we go and see ? We couldn’t leave our sheep, shepherds don’t do that. Then finally we decided we’ll go see him. We’ll take our sheep with us.

We must have been a spectacle with a bunch of sleepy eyed sheep who were just as confused as we were. Probably more so, they didn’t understand the angel, but here were are going through the streets of Bethlehem to find this place where Jesus, the savior lay. We found him!

Ya know I often wonder what people thought when we passed by, because our sheep were anything but quiet. They were making all kinds of racket! Their bells were going, but we found the baby Jesus just where the angel said he would be. To stand in the presents of that little baby, knowing that he was the Savior, the King of Kings, the all might God! Wonderful Counselor. All of those things we have been told from a young age up. That the profit Isaiah had taught. We were aw-struck.

I can’t imagine what Joseph and Mary thought! Bunch of shepherds showing up, with a large flock of sheep. But they received us. As a matter of fact they asked us why we were there. And we told them of our experience about the angel coming. And as we were telling, a smile started to form on the corners of Mary’s mouth. And she kept quiet, but she had this little smile.

Well after a while it seemed like we were there for a couple of hours, but it was probably only a few minutes. We left and went back to the fields but the discussion was “What do we do about the rest of the story the angel told us? To go and tell everyone.” We couldn’t all go.

We drew straws. Unfortunitly, I had to stay with the sheep, with my cousins. My father and his brothers went, and started to share the story around and about. I asked Dad about that later. He said people kind of looked at us oddly. What do shepherds know about such things? But we witnessed and told them. “But didn’t it excite them?” I asked. “Well some, others not so much.”

He said there was one particular man by the name of Simeon who was pretty interested in this little baby. He received us. He had us tell the tell our story over and over about our encounter out in the field.

Well these years have come and gone and they have passed by and I often wondered; why a Shepherd? Why were we the ones that the angel come to? Well, I suppose in the order of shepherds were probably the most favored but I don’t know if that’s the word we want to use.

But the flock, we took care of was special. It’s where the lambs came from that they sacrificed in the temple. Over yonder, not too far, there’s a tower called the tower of the flock. Been there for thousands and thousands of years. My father, Jacob, built it for a memorial to his wife, who passed. But, it’s the place where we take our ewes when they’re pregnant. There is good shelter there; and always has clean bedding. And we take our pregnant ewes there. And that’s where they have their little lambs. We take special care of those little lambs.

First of all, we inspect them when they come out, to see if they are unblemished. If they are we wrap them up keep them clean and pure. We allow them to nurse their mother. But then the temple priests will come at some time, and they will look over these little lambs, and they will choose one to take for a sacrifice. We’re the only shepherds that watch over this flock. And my family has been watching this flock for hundreds of years.

We take our job seriously! We don’t go to the temple and see the sacrifice. No, were too common for that. But it gives us a good feeling to know that were doing something to remember our God. And to remember that he brought us out of captivity many, many times.

It’s nice to know that us lowly shepherds can help commemorate these things. We do our praying. We do our fasting. But we do it quietly, and we do it reverently. We do it where no body sees us, because who’s out in the fields with us? No one! Just us and our sheep. But as we are able to do that, it gives us warmth to know that as our lord grew, and when he went to the temple, and he participated in those rights; that our lambs, were the lambs that he saw there.

We see him wonder through from time to time. And he always stops and talks to us. Such a marvelous person, Jesus Christ! He’s so kind and loving, and he treats us as if we were kings of the world. We know that we’re not perfect, He knows we’re not perfect. But ya know what, he doesn’t judge us. He simply tells us to just try and do better in your life. Take care of these lambs; they are important. Why did he say that?

Well, I remember hearing when Jesus started his ministry. He went to be baptized, and as he walked to the river Jordon, John said behold the lamb of GOD! Now when I was told that story, I wondered about that. The lamb of God! Our lambs were lambs of God. And our lambs were sacrificed. Would this Jesus be sacrificed? Because when they talked about lambs, they were talking about the purity of them. It wasn’t just your run of the mill lambs. They talked in terms of pureness, of unblemished. And if there was ever a person without blemish, it was Jesus Christ. We could tell that, even when we looked upon him in the manger. He was a perfect child. He was a holy child.

So we look about us this time of year, look up at the sky, and we remember that time; when the Angel stood before us. My father and his brothers are long gone, now. But I just, sometimes, in the quietness in the night, as I look at the night, this time of year, almost can hear a chorus of the Angels singing “Glory on God in the highest! Peace on earth and good will to men!”

And when he said men, when he spoke to us, we were men, we weren’t shepherds, we were just as special as the priests in the temple in his eyes! Each of us are just as if we were his only friend. Each of us was blessed by his presents, and the joy we have when we think about the good shepherd, Jesus Christ. He called himself the good shepherd. And that makes us feel really good.

Ya know, Moses was a shepherd. Aaron, Joshua, there’s been some pretty important shepherds in the history of our people. And I guess Jesus saw that in us, when he stopped and he talked to us. And he says I am the good shepherd. My sheep hear my voice. Just like our sheep here. You can holler and call for those sheep until your blue in the face and they’re not going to pay any attention to you. But they’ll hear my voice. Why? Because they know that I’m there to look out for them, and I care for them. And I care for them sometimes, more that my fellow man.

We’re a strange lot, us shepherds, cause sometimes our sheep’s are the only friends we have out here. And we talk to them like I’m talking to you. They all have names. And they all know our voices and when they hear our voices. They find comfort, and peace. And when I hear the voice of Jesus Christ, I find that same comfort, and that same peace. He’s a good shepherd. The Shepherd! He’s the shepherd I would like to be someday.

Well, I probably should get back to my flock. Those little lambs are pretty skid-dish tonight. I don’t think there is anything out there. I’ve been keeping an eye on the shadows. I don’t have a sense of any immediate danger, but, maybe it’s just this night, the same sort of night that happened so many years ago, when I was just 10 years old. When I stood at a manger. I could just barely peak over and I saw a little babe, and somehow knew that this little babe was just like my little lambs. Without any blemishes, and I guess maybe, I knew, even then, that he was going to be a sacrificial lamb.

I’ve taken up a lot of your time. Gotta get back to my flock!