"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord"
When Logan was in elementary school we would participate in our church’s Christmas pageant. One year he was a shepherd and his prop was a live baby goat. My prop was a basket with a whiskbroom and dustpan, my job was to make sure when the goat exited stage left he did not leave anything behind for Mary and Joseph to step in. Yes, I was essentially the pooper-scooper. I am convinced that the bright stage lights scared it right out of him. That year I experienced first hand how disgusting taking care of livestock really is.
Genesis 46:34 gives us the earliest account of how shepherds were viewed. In Egypt they were considered an abomination, and they did not fair much better in Hebrew society. In 1 Samuel 16, Samuel went to Jesse to anoint one of his sons to be the new king of Israel. Jesse brought all of his sons before Samuel, except David, who was shepherding his father’s flocks. Jesse thought so little of David he did not even call him in from the field. Samuel insisted that Jesse bring David before him. And to the shock of David’s family, God chose David as the future king of Israel.
1000 years did not change the status of the shepherd. In a culture where cleanliness symbolized holiness, shepherds were on the fringe of society. But just as God chose the lowly Bethlehem shepherd David to be king, he gave the shepherds of Bethlehem the privilege and honor to be the first visitors at the birth of the King of Kings.
Over and over in scripture we see the Lord choosing those who society would overlook or avoid, to accomplish His plan. In the Old Testament he chose Joseph the slave, Rahab the prostitute, Ruth the Moabite, David the shepherd, Moses the stutterer. In the New Testament we see Him chose Peter the fisherman, Matthew the tax collector, Elizabeth the barren woman, Mary the peasant girl and the shepherds that night on the hills of Bethlehem.
The shepherds had no power or influence, popularity or wealth, but God chose them in spite of their weakness to witness His glory made flesh. These shepherds were so overwhelmed by what they saw they left the manger praising God and telling anyone who would listen what they had been told concerning the Child. The angel’s message to the shepherds was, “for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
Ponder this for a moment, for unto you is born Christ the Lord. Jesus the Creator of the universe, the one who merely spoke and all creation leapt into existence (John 1:1-3), the One who is holding all of creation together (Col 1:17), who calls the stars by name (Psalms 147:4), humbled Himself to enter a world filthy with sin. His creation that was made to be pure and to reflect His image was wallowing in a pit of sin it created for itself.
A shepherd is one who is willing to live among the filth of the sheep; to protect them from the prowling lion; to calm them when afraid; to lead them to green pastures; to carry them when injured; to search for them when lost. In John 10:11-18 Jesus called Himself the Good Shepherd who would lay down his life for His sheep.
To the first century Jew, Jesus calling himself The Good Shepherd would have seemed disgraceful. He was identifying himself with those in society who were considered impure and unclean. But what so many didn’t realize (especially the religious leaders) is that even the most pious Jew is unclean, not because of something they touched or ate but because of their sin.
Jesus came to live among us and then to die for us so that we could truly be clean; the filth and shame of our sin forgiven and remembered no more. The shepherds at the manger invite us to worship and glorify the Good Shepherd, the Savior, Christ the Lord, just as they did on the night of his birth.
My precious husband, Bill, and I have been planted in Fort Myers, Florida for almost 35 years. As a newly married couple, God most graciously had placed people in both of our jobs to share Christ with us. Its hard to believe it has been almost 34 years since we asked Jesus into our hearts! Bill and I have been blessed with four children, 3 daughters, then a son. These blessings came quickly, all within 6 years!! During these years I'm so thankful I was able to be part of women's ministry classes at our church, helping me to grow in my walk with Him. Then came the day when I was asked that question that stretched me way outside of my comfort zone...will you teach a class? Its hard to believe that I have now been teaching more than 20 years. Bill and I love to travel, most of the time going to visit our 9 grandchildren, oh ya, and their parents! I also love reading, walking and hanging out with some very special young moms in Beloved that bless my socks off!
Julie is a Kansas girl who resides in sunny Southwest Florida. She's been married to her husband Sean for 23 years and they share two boys ages 21 & 17. She enjoys baking and biking, but her absolute favorite thing is snow skiing which is a little difficult to do in a sandy 80 degree land.
She became a follower of Christ at age 10. She loves studying and teaching God's Word. She has a passion for encouraging moms to love and follow Jesus.
Beth grew up in a loving home; however, in her early 20s she faced a very lonely time. During that time, she cried out to God and asked “If You are real, please show yourself to me!” God met her where she was and she trusted in the Lord Jesus at that time. Her life verse and desire is “no matter what happens, to conduct herself in a manner worthy of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27
Beth now resides in Tampa, Florida with her husband Larry. The Lord has blessed them by blending their family of five children. They currently have eight grandchildren and are hoping that there will be more grandchildren in the future.
Donna accepted Jesus as her Savior at the age of nine and has been amazed at God’s goodness and faithfulness throughout her life. She has been blessed to have had many mentors through each season of life, who have shown her what trusting God looks like. Donna and her husband, Bryan, have five children, one son-in-law, one soon to be daughter-in-law, and one wonderful grandson. Donna and Bryan have recently moved back to their home state of Arkansas after livingin southeast Alabama the past 23 years. Donna enjoys spending time with her family, laughing with friends (usually over coffee), going for long walks with her husband, and reading a good book (which may also be accompanied by a cup of coffee).
Sarah is a true Florida Cracker. She was born and raised in Southwest Florida. At the age of 6, Sarah accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior, and she hasn't looked back since. Hebrews 13:8 is one of her favorite verses, "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." Eating delicious desserts, spending time with her family and friends, and teaching people about Jesus are a few of the things she enjoys to do in her spare time.
Sarah has been married to her best friend and husband, Brandon, for 7 years. They have been blessed with one beautiful, determined son, Asher, who keeps them on their toes. Sarah and her family live in the Tampa area. They love exploring their community together, family hugs, and eating pizza whenever possible.
Katie Flint just recently moved back home to Fort Myers, Florida with her husband, Ryan and two children, Collins and Madden. At the age of 5, Katie accepted Jesus Christ to be the Lord and Savior of her life, after attending Vacation Bible School. Through each phase of her life, God has shown her that He alone is trustworthy. The verse that has been her life source is Psalm 46:10- “Be still and know that I am God.”
She is a stay-at-home mom and enjoys exercising and baking. She has been married to her husband Ryan for almost 9 years, who is her high school sweetheart. They enjoy trying new restaurants, family trips to the beach, and relaxing at home.
Marsha grew up in a small rural town in upstate New York. In 2006, after finishing college, she moved to sunny SW Florida where she met her, now husband, Shawn. Together they enjoy spending family time with their two fun-loving toddler boys Zachariah and Kairos.
Marsha enjoys living an active lifestyle, which is helpful, considering that her favorite hobby is baking.
Though she attended church as a child, Marsha was not saved until adulthood when her eyes were finally opened to the love and mercy of Jesus Christ.
Since being saved, God has placed a loving burden on her heart to share the truth about God’s healing grace with those who may feel like forgiveness is not possible for them.