“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night.”
– Luke 2:8 (NIV)
The shepherds in the fields seem unlikely representatives of our Lord; but its no mistake, because we are so much like the wayward sheep they tended. And knowing our every need, God sent us a Shepherd. Just like the caring and watchful shepherd knows every sheep, Jesus knows each of us inside and out, our needs and weaknesses, so He, too, keeps watch over His flock, day and night.
The sheep in the field can’t get where they’re going on their own. They don’t know where the best grazing fields are, where the fresh streams of water are, how to fight off predators or battle the elements. But their shepherd does. And he stays with them, nearby, guiding and protecting. That’s why the comparison between the shepherds of the field and the Shepherd of our lives is right as a star atop your tree.
We, too, can’t get by on our own; and because of Jesus, we don’t have to. He will stay with us, nearby, guiding and protecting us. He will show us where our life’s work is and the walk with us every step. And if we’ll continue to be like the shepherd’s sheep and trust the shepherd–our Shepherd–we’ll know the unending celebration of Christmas as we journey through all the fields of our lives.
Father, thank You for Jesus’ understanding of our sheeplike ways an for being the Shepherd we need every day.
Have each child make or draw a candy cane or use a real (wrapped) one. Tell your children that the can represents Jesus the Shepherd who always watches over us. Place each candy cane near each child’s bet or affix it to the door as a reminder that Jesus is closer than a thought and can always be trusted to guide and protect us.