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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Jacobi

On the Eighth Day of Christmas,

God sent shepherds. He sent a message of joy.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas, God sent Shepherds. He sent a message of joy.

Luke 2: 8-12, 15-17, 20: 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 Savior, 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 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 the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Dear Family and Friends,

Shepherding is considered the most ancient profession of the Israelites, but it was not a very desirable one. Shepherding was not for the light of heart or the easy-going disposition. Shepherds fought off the wildest of animals and the most dangerous of men. The work was dirty, it was lonely, it was performed around the clock, and done in good weather, bad weather, and everything in between. Additionally, much of the land near Bethlehem was rocky, terraced hills without much greenery. The ground near Bethlehem, like the ground in most places, was cold, uncomfortable, and surrounded by thorns. It was a job that lacked the basic comforts of life, even by ancient Bethlehem standards.

And, to most of ancient society, shepherding was considered detestable and beneath them. Shepherds were commoners, the working poor, and to many, outcasts. Due to the constant needs of the sheep, shepherds could not keep the Sabbath and were considered unclean. They could not participate in temple services and had no legal standing in the Jewish courts of law.

But shepherds had a special skillset all of their own. Shepherds had to be loving, but they also had to be tough and fearless to protect their flock. Sheep are not particularly bright animals. They are described as slow, weak, foolish, nervous, fearful, helpless, and most importantly, totally dependent on their shepherd for survival. Under one shepherd’s care, the sheep may struggle, starve, and suffer hardships. In another’s care, the sheep may thrive and flourish. Survival of the sheep rests solely on the careful and loving watch of a dedicated shepherd.

And yet, God choose to share the news of the birth of His son with shepherds. It is believed that on the night the angels appeared to them, these particular shepherds were abiding by their flocks in an area traditionally believed to be the “Tower of the Flock.” The lambs kept at the Tower of the Flock are believed to be those destined for Temple sacrifice. These shepherds had to be especially protective of their flock, because in order for the lambs to be sacrificed at the temple, they had to be perfect – they could not be hurt, damaged, or blemished.

God sent angels to proclaim the wondrous news of the Lamb of God to those who had been tasked with loving, tending, protecting, and ultimately giving up for sacrifice, the lambs born into their care. These shepherds would understand the significance of the tiny babe, born pure, and raised up as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind. This group, lowly but loyal, hardworking yet patient, fierce and tough yet loving, would understand the joy and miracle that was the Lamb of God. As outcasts, despised and lowly, they would be surprised, yet thrilled, to have angels appear to them, recognize them, see value in them, and share with them the news of their newborn King. The shepherds would surely be obedient and seek out the babe, worship Him, spread the tidings of great joy to all who would listen, and then stop and praise God for the gift of His Son.

The angels were sent to the lost, the outcast, to announce the arrival of Jesus, He who would find the lost and return them to His fold. Like the shepherds, we can always be ready to receive the Lamb of God in our lives. We can be humble, hardworking, loving, patient, protective, and loyal. We can allow the Good Shepherd to change us, grow us, guide us, protect us, and make us more than we would be without Him.

The Savior has brought the gift of joy to our cold and dreary world. He has promised to stand watch through the long, dark night, protecting us from the terrors and hardships this life can bring. He knows us, His sheep, and He loves us. He will fiercely guard us, for He is our Shepherd.

On the eighth day of Christmas, God sent shepherds. He sent a message of joy.

Love Always,

Hubby & Elle


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