Initially, my interest was stirred when my son told me to watch a documentary from Netflix called Sweetgrass. Perhaps it was not the best made of films, but so much about it set me pondering. Sweetgrass traces a family of Montana shepherds as they drive their flock down a treacherous mountain range. The shepherds were a coarse bunch who used crude language, but carefully cared for their huge flocks despite numerous dangers and hardships. (Hopefully, you can view this film with Clear Play, to filter the language.) I kept thinking of the shepherds in the Judaean hills, "abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night," and the similarities there must have been during the time of Christ's birth.
Then soon afterward, I began to search my gift shelf to find something for a friend who is enduring a lengthy and discouraging stay at a rehab hospital. As soon as I spotted the large print copy of A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23, by W. Phillip Keller, I knew it was perfect! During my visit, my friend and I read through Psalm 23, discussing how the mighty King David recognized himself as a lowly and stupid sheep in need of a Great Shepherd. When I left, my friend could not wait to dig into the book... and I could not wait to go home and review it! (Lessons From a Sheep Dog is another interesting and insightful read by the same author.)
As my husband and I have begun the project of reading through the Bible... aloud to each other... we keep getting hung up by too much discussion and questions! Needless to say, we are not progressing rapidly. The other day we were reading in Genesis 48, where Jacob is blessing Joseph and his sons. In verse 15 of the KJV it reads, "And he blessed Joseph, and said, God, before whom my fathers Abraham and Isaac did walk, the God which fed me all my life long unto this day." Well... if you go digging with the original language, Jacob was meaning "the God who has been my shepherd." This shepherd-man, Jacob, understood the care of the Good Shepherd!
So now you see why I have shepherds... on the brain. I hear them in the Christmas carols. I see them in the nativities... the Christmas cards... the plays and movies.
Even as I write, I'm thinking of this question for you, actually the title of a song, "Do You Hear What I Hear?" See what I told you? SHEPHERDS ARE EVERYWHERE!