Luke 2:8-20 says: And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And 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. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
At the time of Jesus birth, people who attended sheep were considered one of the least significant of the human race by other people. They lived quiet and humble lives, often spending their days and nights with their flocks. The sheep that they tended were probably bred as sacrifice animals for the temple in near-by Jerusalem. These shepherds were just doing their usual job when the angels appeared before them. I think I would be shaking in my sandals too. The news the angel gave the shepherds would have surprised them too. Babies would have been plentiful during the census and specific descriptions were to help the shepherds find Jesus among the crowded town.
When they went down into Bethlehem they found Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus. They worshipped the newborn king before returning to their flocks glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen. It had been just as the angel had told them.
I can imagine the shepherds telling their friends and families for weeks after the event. This incident would have made a significant change in their tedious lives. History tells how shepherds became accepted and probably even admired by many.
Jesus refers to himself as the “good Shepherd”
John 10:11 – “I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
John 10:14 – “I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine.”
The next time you sing the Christmas carol “While Shepherds watched Their Flocks by Night” take notice of the words and remember their significant place in the Christmas Story.
Father, thank you for sending your son to earth as a small baby. Thank you that lowly shepherds were among the first to greet Jesus and for the remindered of the significance of the birth. We praise you, just as the angels and shepherds did on that night so long ago. Amen.
© Chrissy Siggee
Scripture Verses used are from the King James Version of the Bible
Photo by Chrissy Siggee
Christmas tree decorated by Chrissy’s granddaughter.
Christmas carols played while Ken wrapped the last of the gifts that were to be distributed at the children’s hospital later that afternoon. This was Faith’s favourite time of year and best of all she was allowed to visit the children again with Ken.
It had been a busy year with many visits to hospitals where children needed a distraction from their pain, recovery or just the plain old boredom of their every day routine. Faith always looked forward to seeing them. It was their smiles and squeals of glee that made it all worthwhile.
Ken had made a silly elf hat for Faith to match his. She shook her head. Nope it’s not going to come off. Oh well, I guess the children will like it. At least it’s better than last year’s reindeer antlers.
‘Almost done, Faith,’ Ken said clutching a red ribbon between his teeth as he talked.
Faith tilted her head to one side and ruffed. It’s about time. Curiosity had set in so she wandered over to the Christmas tree and sniffed a sack of gifts.
‘You’re not going to find anything under there for you this Christmas, Faith girl.’
Faith whimpered and hung her head.
‘It’s not like that,’ Ken laughed. He knelt on one knee as he often did and hugged her. ‘Your gift will arrive sometime later tonight. ‘Actually, it will be our gift. We’ll be sharing this one. Those gifts under the tree are for my parents who are coming for Christmas lunch tomorrow.’
Faith wagged her tail. She loved Ken’s mum and dad. I wonder if our gift will arrive by sleigh or maybe it’s being delivered in a fire truck. She nudged Ken’s elbow with her nose knocking him off balance. Come on! It’s time to go.
Less than an hour later, Ken was busy handing out gifts to the children in the burns unit while Faith nuzzled the hands of any child, parent or nurse reaching out to her. The ward was noisy with excitement—oh what fun it is! One child was almost totally covered in bandages; blue eyes, a little nose, hands and feet protruding. Faith looked up at a male nurse standing nearby.
‘Go on. Mandy will be thrilled’ he said nodding at the patient.
Faith cautiously stepped toward the child and licked a dangling hand before carefully lifting both paws onto the side of the bed. She was within inches of the little girl’s nose.
Mandy lifted her hand slowly and placed it on Faith’s head. There they remained for what seemed a very long time. But, Faith didn’t mind.
The afternoon visit included ice cream for everyone except Faith, as usual, but Ken had a few doggy surprises in his pocket for her to enjoy. It had been a great visit.
It wasn’t until later that evening when she curled up on the mat near the back door that Faith thought about Mandy again. She whimpered a moment before resting her head on her paws. And, I wonder what our surprise will be…yawn.
It was just after dawn when Faith was aroused from a deep sleep by a faint scratching noise. She opened her eyes slowly anticipating a possum trying to steal the remaining few biscuits from her bowl. To her surprise, another pair of doggy eyes met hers across the porch. Faith blinked, not just to clear her eyes but in response to the handsome canine who lay opposite.
Both dogs lifted their heads in unison. Oh my, Faith thought. Her tongue slipped over the side of her jaw. A slobbery drool slipped down to the tip of her tongue before she could prevent it dripping to the floor. Fortunately, those amber eyes before her didn’t seem to notice. Time seemed to stand still.
The glass door gliding along its track brought Faith out of her daze. Ken stepped out and knelt to stroke Faith’s ears. ‘I see you two have met.’
‘Well, sort of.’ She shook her head throwing drool over Ken’s clean shirt.
‘Faith, meet Shield. Shield this is Faith.’
Shield rose to his feet in what seemed to Faith as a graceful bow. Faith followed suit and approached the longhaired Border Collie before she shyly turned her head and nudged Ken instead.
With a chuckle, Ken picked himself up of the floor. ‘Ok you two, how about breakfast?’
Both dogs wagged their tails eagerly and waited in anticipation.
The two dogs spent most of the day playing and walking in the back garden. They soon became the best of friends. Ken’s parents had been and gone. Lunch was fabulous. There had been plenty of gifts to go around and the doggy treats were extra special on such a wonderful day of the year.
Merry Christmas from Faith and Shield… Oh, and Ken too of course.
© Chrissy Siggee
This is a work of fiction. Except for Ken and his dog Faith all other characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
It twinkles high above the earth
Once glistened on a royal birth—
Encircled by an angel’s choir
Proclaiming God’s desire.
Shepherds feared that dazzling light
Attending their sheep that blessed night
It lured wise men from afar—
Vowed to follow this shining star.
Jesus was born in a cattle stall
Found wrapped in a shabby shawl
Beneath a clear night sky—
His mother Mary sits nearby.
No matter where we are
You can see the Christmas star—
Look within your heart He called,
It’s the brightest star of all.
© Chrissy Siggee
Jubilance radiates tranquil moments,
Young lovers pursue tender embraces–
Neighborhood children join in games
Sweet aromas saturate festive appetites
Families share in united harmony.
Midnight services fill the churches,
Choirs sing in joyous proclamation–
Nativity scenes and dramas unfold,
Ascended praises announce His birth
Jesus Christ, Saviour and Lord.
Silence falls before the dawn,
Christmas excitement awakes the birds–
Gifts exchanged and children squeal,
Doorbells ring of kith and kin
Celebrations unfold with festive feast.
Church bells echo through the town,
God’s people gather near and far –
Scripture is read of our Saviour’s birth,
Mankind raise their voices with carols sung,
Christians celebrate the birth of Christ.
© Chrissy Siggee
An observation of the world around me intended to provoke thought in you.