While most of us have never met a shepherd it’s not hard to guess what one is like. They are simple people, going about their duty of tending sheep day and night.
Even though the vast majority of us don’t mind sheep or goats, in some respects we can still identify with them.
We are not extraordinary. Nor are we great saints. We spend our life in traffic jams and at red lights, going to work or the bank, grocery shopping, changing diapers, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, answering cell phones, reading blogs and checking Facebook.
We can find ourselves ill, our energy spent, and our money spent. At the end of a busy 24 hours it seems there is little time to dedicate ourselves to what is spiritual and transcendent.
This is why Christmas is such a blessing — a beacon of light shining across a stormy sea. As the simple and dedicated shepherds heard tidings of great joy, we too are reminded of God’s goodness amidst the worries and cares of life.
God’s goodness, seen in the form of an innocent baby, enters into the business of our lives much like the first rays of sunlight into a dark room.
So we can learn a valuable lesson from the shepherds: even though they were busy, they were watchful. As they minded their flocks their hearts watched as well; they were waiting, yearning for the Messiah.
The shepherd’s attentiveness shows how Christmas has the power to infuse us with spiritual sensitivity: an openness that looks beyond ourselves and allows God to enter our lives.
Amid the business of our days and nights, let us learn from the shepherds and watch for God.