Summary: The Christmas story from a shepherd's perspective.
“Another night going to sleep hungry. Why did I ever agree with my father that I would take the flock out this year?” he thought. He’d been away from his family for a long time, taking care of the sheep, making sure they had enough to eat, making sure they were protected, making sure they all stayed together. “But who takes care of me?”
It was Levi’s night to be on watch. The others were trying to rest as he sat up and watched for predators. As he sat there, staring up into the sky, he secretly wished he didn’t have to do this anymore. It was almost too much for him to bear. The others seemed content enough, seemed like they were fulfilled by their callings to be shepherds, but he still just wasn’t there in his mind. How did his father do this most of his life? How did he survive? Why did he choose to raise and care for sheep of all things? WHAT was his reasoning?
And these sheep are so hard to care for. They can’t protect themselves, they can’t hardly find their own food, they can’t stay together, and worst of all...they stink. And here I am, caring for these helpless, stupid, stinky animals. Forget about what my fathers reasons were for doing this….what was I thinking!
The night drug on...trying to find other things to think about was the only way he was going to get through the night without going mad about his current situation. So he thought about his mother. She was such a sweet woman, and she loved God SO much. While his father was the one who taught him about religion, it was his mother who showed him God. She lived her life for God, and she knew Him very well. There were times when he was a child that he was sure that she knew the very touch of God, and touched him the very same way. So sweet and gentle, so loving, to tender, so understanding. So relaxing…...so……
He jerked awake as his body began to slump over in sleep. NO! I cannot sleep! It’s my watch, it’s my turn. I must protect the sheep. He looked over at the others to see if they had seen him sleeping, even if just for a moment. No, they were still out. Ok, I’m ok here. I’m awake, and the sheep are ok. “What was I thinking?” Oh ya, my mother, he thought. As a smile washed across his weathered face, the feelings all came flooding back over him like a warm summer rain shower. The smell of her hair, the softness of her hands rocking him to sleep…...sleep…..sleep…….
And then it happened, the unthinkable. He came out of nowhere. It was almost as if he had been waiting right next to the other shepherds, but it was too late. Once Levi saw him, he was right there in the midst of them, too close to the sheep to protect all of them. Levi jumped forward to try and scare the wolf off, but the wolf knew better, knew that he could get that lamb right next to him. As Levi lept off the ground with his staff, the wolf lunged for the little one, and had barely grazed the fuzz of her tiny neck when the lights came on.
It was a flash like Levi had never seen before. Instantly it was if God had decided to make it daytime a few hours early. As the other shepherds jumped awake, Levi frantically searched for the lamb. She was still right next to her mother, untouched, unscathed, shaking but otherwise no worse for the wear. The wolf was long gone, so frightened by the flash of lightning that he no longer cared for a kill.
Now the sheep were restless, but so were the shepherds. There, before them, something or someone they’d never seen before. Levi and the other shepherds were terrified!
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
What’s going on?, though Levi. One second I’m caught asleep by the enemy of our flocks, and now there’s an angel in front of me….too much to put all of this together all at once.
But wait, that wasn’t all….once the angel finished speaking, it seemed like two hundred more angels appeared, and they all said
“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”