Shepherds? As a Christmas theme?
Hear me out…
It’s true the shepherds are just a tiny part of the Christmas story. It’s also true that to focus solely on them would not present a clear and true picture of Christmas.
I can imagine times when shepherds would be the perfect theme.
What if you featured a different part of the Christmas story in each room of your house? Yep. One room would need a shepherd theme, wouldn’t it?
What if you hosted a dinner party and featured various personalities in the nativity at the different tables (or serving stations)? Uh huh. Shepherd theme.
Elements to consider for a shepherd theme:
- Rough textures – burlap, jute, wool
- Soft textures – lambswool blanket, cotton batting
- Wood – walking stick/shepherd’s hook, candleholders, serving pieces
- Tarnished brass – candleholders, serving pieces
- Realistic sheep figurines/statues
When I think of the shepherds, one story always comes to mind. It’s in a collection of Christmas stories I received from my grandparents in December 1977. To think that a junior in high school would read the book–then keep it all these years–still amazes me… but this one particular story grabbed me then–and grabs me now.
It’s an imaginary word-picture of one of those shepherds who was only a boy on that holy Christmas night. As the story begins, he’s now an old man with his grandson sitting on his knee–recalling the events of that night so long ago…
“A long, long time ago, when I was little more than a boy, I was out on the Judean hills one night with some other shepherds, keeping watch over the flock. And the angel of the Lord came upon us and the glory of the Lord shone roundabout us. And we were sore afraid. But the angel said, ‘Fear not . . . for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. . . . You shall find the babe in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.'”
The old man’s lips cease to move, and there is silence. Then the lad turns and looks with wide, puzzled eyes into his grandfather’s face and says: “But granddaddy, is that all? What did you do when you heard the good news? Was what the angel said really true? Was the Christ Child ever really born?
The old shepherd sadly shakes his white head and answers: “I never knew. I never went to see. Some say that it is all a myth. Others say they found in Him the light of God, the power of life. But for me, I could never be quite sure. I never did go to see.”
Excerpt from Christmas by Charles L. Allen and Charles L. Wallis
How tragic! The real meaning of Christmas… unknown.
I hope you spent the past few weeks anticipating Christmas. I hope your heart was filled by family and friends and festivities…and overflowed with generosity and gratitude and grace. I hope you experienced anew the Christ Child’s arrival. I hope you know the Christ Child was really born.
But today is the day after Christmas.
On that very first day after Christmas, the shepherds who went to the stable
…spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. . . . The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (Luke 2:17, 18, 20)
How will you spend this day after Christmas? Will you simply return to your routine as if nothing special happened… or will you be more intentional about sharing the Good News with millions of people who don’t know–or completely neglect–the Divine birth of an innocent little boy so long ago?
And when your next generations ask, “Was the Christ Child ever really born?”, I hope you’ll know.
I hope you can tell them how you approached the stable with the hesitation of uncertainty … and experienced the welcome of Home. How worry and stress and bad choices fell away in the presence of Love and Peace and Hope. How you will spend eternity in the presence of that Babe-Savior. I hope you’ll tell them how they can, too.
For God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not die but have eternal life. (John 3:16 GNT)
This post is part of a Themes of Christmas series. If you missed previous themes, they’re all listed HERE. We’ll continue to post a new theme every day through the end of December. If you wish, sign up to get them delivered straight to your inbox!