Shepherds for Christ
By Marty Norman -
“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night” (Luke 2:8).
Shepherds are amazing people. From biblical times to today, they are on guard as they watch over the sheep and baby lambs placed in their care. By day they feed the sheep, leading them to pastures for grazing. By night they guard the entrance to gated pens, protecting the sheep from wolves and predatory animals.
Shepherds have a distinct place in history. They were the first to whom God revealed the good news of the birth of his son. Standing in a brightly lit field, they stood in awe as the heavenly host descended, singing and praising God, proclaiming peace on earth, good will towards man. Without hesitation, these simple men left the hills of Judea to see for themselves the miracle of the baby’s birth. They found him lying in a manager wrapped in swaddling clothes.
Today there are many types of shepherds–pastors, preachers, parents, grandparents, teachers and youth leaders. They each have a role in the guarding of the flock. In God’s way, he uses the few to confound the many for he leads with precision those he has called to shepherd his sheep.
As grandmothers, we have our doctorate in shepherding. Not only does our age bless us with wisdom and longevity but our role in the family places us in a shepherd position. If we look closely at the Christmas story, the Word gives us the key to shepherding. For isn’t this how god made us—to feed our flocks by day and guard our flocks by night.
As grandmothers, we do this a number of ways–physically, spiritually and emotionally. Physically we provide necessities for their well-being, but we also give them fun things we didn’t provide for our own children because of lack of funds. Emotionally, we offer a place of safety and a heart of unconditional love; we see and have time to do the things that others don’t. Spiritually, we show Jesus to our grandkids when we sing songs or hymns of praise, sharing our joy in the Lord. At night we offer comfort and protection through our prayers. In our quiet times we speak and read the Word of the Lord over them, providing a canopy of covering.
But there is more to the Christmas story than just guarding the flock. Luke 2:17 tells us, ‘When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.” This is the heart of the story. First they saw, guarded, protected and watched; then they went and told.
As 21st century shepherds, are we doing the same, telling all that we see about Jesus? Are the people who hear amazed at what we tell them? If not, then we are not applying the Christmas story to today.
So our challenge this Christmas is to make a plan. Determine how you will you share the gospel that Jesus, the Messiah, has come. Who will you tell about the good news of the baby Jesus?
Prayer: O God, I praise you that you sent your son, Emmanuel, the Messiah, to us on Christmas Eve. I praise you that you spoke to humble shepherds who were guarding their flocks by night. I thank you that they investigated, believed and went out to tell others. I pray that you would do likewise with me. Use me this Christmas season to spread the good news of the birth of the Savior. Use me to amaze people with your story.