Today I want to share with you a story that I wrote a few years ago. In it, I tried to imagine what it would have been like to be one of the shepherds who visited Jesus at His birth. For just a moment, I want you to pretend that you are reading a letter that one of the shepherds wrote to his brother, Mathias. It’s a different sort of blog, but I hope it gets you in the Christmas Spirit!
As I am writing you this letter, my hand is still a bit shaky. I’m not sure it will ever stop. But I must tell you about an incredible experience that happened to Matthew, Simeon, Levi, and me, two weeks ago. As usual, we were watching our sheep on a hillside east of Bethlehem. I was on the night watch and the others were sleeping. There was something unusual about the sky that night. I can’t explain it, really. Like heat reflecting off the desert sand, the stars seemed to be jockeying into place, fidgeting and restless in their usual stayed positions. Diamonds danced on the inky backdrop rather than standing sure and still. Even the sheep seemed to notice the heavenly mirage.
Then it happened. As if a curtain was pulled back, I saw what was stirring the stars…angels! Yes, angels, angels, everywhere. Immediately, the others awoke to the celestial lights, flapping of wings and the resonation of indistinguishable singing.
At first, only one spoke. “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Then, the curtain was drawn back even more and the sky was filled with angels! “Glory to God in the highest!” they sang, “and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
The flapping of their wings stirred the air, whipped our hair, and blew our tunics in all directions. Amazingly, the sheep were calm during this majestic occurrence. It was almost as if nothing unusual was happening. Perhaps this was not the first time they had seen an angel. Who knows? We, on the other hand, were awestruck. Tears streamed down our dusty cheeks. We fell to our knees, marveling at the beauty of heaven displayed before us.
Then quietly and slowly, the curtain returned and the angels were no more. We rose to our feet and began to run in the direction of Bethlehem to see this babe. How did we know where to go?
Mathias, the only way I know how to explain it is to think of my relationship to my sheep. When I am grazing in a field with several of my friends and their flocks, our sheep get all mixed together. Sometimes five different flocks can be mingled together at one time. But as soon as I call to my sheep, they separate from the others and follow me home. They know my voice. Each and every one of them can distinguish the voice of their shepherd and they know whom to follow.
That’s how it was that night. It was as if a shepherd had called my name. I knew his voice and he called me out from among all the rest.
Where did we go? To a palace? To a temple? To a stately manor? No, we went to a stable. But isn’t that where a shepherd would call his sheep? To a stable?
What did we see? A burning bush like our ancestor Moses? Writing on the wall? A vision? No, we saw a baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger–just like the angel had said. He didn’t speak, but somehow, he called our names. He is the Christ, Mathias. The one of whom the prophets spoke.
Do you remember the prophet Isaiah’s words? “He tends his flock like a shepherd; He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.” When I saw the babe (who later his parents told me was named Jesus,) I knew this was the one of whom the prophet spoke. And didn’t the prophet Micah say the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem? It all makes sense to me now, and yet it is still a mystery.
Why me? Why did God choose to send the angels to announce the Savior’s birth to me –a lowly shepherd? I don’t know the answer to that, my friend. All I know is that one starry night, I was a shepherd. And then God spoke my name and I became a sheep. And now, my friend, God is calling your name as well.
I don’t know what will become of this baby in the manger, but I do know this…the world will never be the same again – nor will I.
Your brother, the sheep.
Heavenly Father, I am so glad that You sent the angels to proclaim the Savior’s birth to lowly shepherds…to common man. And I am so glad that you looked down from heaven and chose to announce the Savior’s birth to a common girl–me. Thank you for sending a Shepherd for me–one of Your sheep. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
The shepherds were not the only ones excited about Jesus’ birth. Why not try your hand at some creative writing. Imagine that you are one of the wise men (wise women). Try writing a letter to one of your family members after visiting Jesus and delivering your gift.
Click here to download a printable version of my I Corinthians 13 Christmas Style.
Also, click here to learn more about my new book being released January 26, 2021, When You Don’t Like Your Story: What if Your Worst Chapters Could Become Your Greatest Victories. Pre-order by January 25 and receive free bonus material.
Beautiful story Sharon!
I loved your story!! I remember when I heard His voice!! Wasn’t sure who it was at the time , but I knew I had better do what I was being told!! I love following Christ ! Not easy but a Blessing!
Thank you Sharon for this beautiful and heartwarming story. You have inspired to write my own. Merry Christmas
I loved it we need to hear more
Thank you, Sharon. It’s a beautiful picture how God uses ordinary people. To see extraordinary things,how God works all things for the good! And for his purposes! I hope you have a Merry Christmas and blessed new year! Your friend in Jesus; Julie
May we all indeed be called a sheep by our Shepherd, our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Thank you Sharon for sharing this beautiful letter to Mathias, it brought a smile to my heart. Deep calls after the deep…let the listener hear His voice and follow. Shalom and blessings!
Thank you for suggesting some creative writing. I wrote as if I was the mother of one of the shepherds.
Skit- Eema Laura
Based on Luke 2:1-20
I remember that night oh so well. We were all sleeping soundly when all of a sudden my son came bursting into our home shouting Wake up! Wake up! Abba! Eema! Wake up!
My husband and I were startled awake and thought something terrible must have happened to our flock of sheep. We hurried to our son to hear what had happened. When I saw him I stopped in my tracks. There was something different about him. I can only explain it as Awe shining on his face. He was talking so fast we couldn’t understand him. All I could catch was sheep, and angels, and bright light. His Abba went to him to calm him down so he could share with us the news of what had happened.
He said he and his friends were taking their turn for the night watch. He was sitting listening to the quiet sounds of the sheep sleeping. As he was looking up at the stars in night sky, he was thinking how especially beautiful and bright they seemed, when all of a sudden an angel stood before them. They all shook with fear. He said the angel stood before them shining so bright and pure.
Then the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
My son said then, in a flash, the sky exploded in bright, holy light and multitudes of heavenly hosts were saying “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
He said he and his friends fell to the ground in awe and reverence at this special birth announcement!
Can you imagine what the roar of all those angels speaking in unison must have sounded like? No wonder my sons face shown. It was reflecting the glory of God!
Oh how I wish I could have experienced this with him. What a special gift!
I couldn’t help but wonder, why my son? Why would our Father God send the angels to appear to lowly shepherds? Why?
He said then as quickly as the angels had come, they disappeared into heaven. He said they looked at eachother stunned by what they had just witnessed. He said tears were streaming down their faces and their bodies were shaking with excitement. They embraced one another and said,
“Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”
My son has always loved to run and race against his friends. He must have run like the wind that night to go find the Child.
He said God led them to a stable where they found Mary and Joseph, and just like the angel said, the Babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
They told Mary and Joseph all that had happened. He said Mary listened very intently to them as she held the Child.
My son said as he gazed at the Christ Child, he kept hearing the angels voice in his head saying,
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.”
He was looking at The Saviour!
He said as they left Bethlehem they shared the good tidings with everyone they met. People were amazed at what they told them.
My son is so different since that day. As a child we taught him the Holy Scriptures. He would say his prayers as he watched over the flocks. He knew about God. The difference is, he had knowledge of God, but now he has experienced God. Experiencing God has given him such purpose in his life now. Not a day passes that he doesn’t find someone to tell the good news to.
The Christ Child was given to all the people.
That means He was given for you and for me. Won’t you experience him too?
I absolutely loved, loved, loved this story!!
That was beautiful ,I think I will save this to read at Christmas Eve .