We don’t see many shepherds in Minnesota. I have been blessed over the years to know people who own sheep. The more you know about sheep, the more you appreciate the role of a shepherd. Last evening Pastor Don recounted the story of a small flock of sheep. They had been brought to the front yard of a home for “lawn maintenance.” Before long, the homeowner discovered that they were not munching on lawn anymore, they had started a conga line. The sheep were all following one another in a circle around the house. As he watched this progression he could tell there was no end in sight they just continued to march around the house, over, and over, and over again. The only thing that stopped the conga line was the direct intervention of the homeowner. He had to block their way.
This story sounds way too much like ours, doesn’t it? but praise God we have a shepherd who is willing to set us straight, to get us out of the self-destructive cycle of following whatever comes along. But our Shepherd is unique among shepherds, while he is not the first shepherd to lose his life in defense of the sheep, he is the first to not only lay down his life as Shepherds, he also became a lamb – The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the World. He also is unique because not only does he lay his life down, not only does he become our sacrifice, He is the only shepherd who takes his life back up again. It is through this resurrection that we have hope and peace and love and joy.
This CHRISTmas ponder the shepherds who came to see the Good Shepherd. That is no ordinary baby we are welcoming, we are welcoming the Lamb of God who is our Good Shepherd.