I never really felt accepted by anyone except my own close family. But Christmas changed everything.
There was this girl I liked. Let’s call her Carol. And I think she liked me. I managed to get some time off to ask her on a date, but she just started acting a bit distant like. I knew what it was. I knew I was punching above my weight. I am a shepherd after all.
I’ve had it all my life, “You can’t trust him, he’s a shepherd” … “Don’t buy that off him, it’s probably stolen, he’s a shepherd.”
I once saw a man break into a house near where I was watching a flock. I shouted and went after him but he got away with just a few items from the house. But a shepherd is not allowed to be a witness in court so I could not tell my story. Not only did the man get away, but I ended up being accused of being involved in the robbery!
I don’t know if this girl Carol knew about the robbery or not. I don’t think it would matter. Once her dad found out what I did for a living, I was a no-go-area. Another rejection in a life-story of knock-backs. But Christmas changed everything.
On that night, I was talking quietly with my co-workers under a dark sky when BOOM! The sky was ripped open and we could see and hear right into heaven! The hillside was lit up in an instant and an Angel of the Lord appeared. Right up close and personal like. The sheep didn’t even seem to notice but we were all terrified! The Angel told us not to be afraid and I was thinking, “Yeah, right. You should have thought of that before you flood-lit our field. Haven’t you heard of economy light bulbs?” I didn’t say anything though because he was going on about some good news about a saviour.
I didn’t pretend to understand, and I didn’t pretend to understand why the Angel had come to us rather than someone important. And none of us understood the instructions that a saviour would be born in a… a manger! Sounded like a joke. If it wasn’t for the angelic sound and light show I’d have thought it was a really bad prank.
But I get it now. Christmas changed everything for us shepherds. God became one of us. He didn’t just accept us as we were. He met us where we were. And he chose us to be with him on that day when he could have chosen anyone.
It suddenly didn’t matter any more if Carol or her dad or anyone wanted nothing to do with me. I knew the creator of the universe valued me and wanted to treat me like royalty. I’m still a shepherd on the outside but I feel like a king on the inside. A bit like he was really.