The Last Shepherd

Preschool Christmas Pageant

There were 13 of us present in the room of perhaps 50 adults. We jostled for the ‘adult seats’ among the preschool sized versions and waited expectantly.

When the door opened, I strained my eyes to identify my four-year-old grandson Landon. Joseph led the way followed by Mary carefully carrying the doll. Many, many, angels followed but Landon was not among them.

The Wise men, maybe I’ll see him there? Nope. They all came and sat in their places identified by masking tape on the floor. There was noise in the back hallway of teachers whispering and little voices and then the shepherds came. Still anxiously awaiting the sight of my grandson my heart quickened as I recognize the eyes… and then his lips – partially hidden behind the headwear made out of drapery fabric.

Landon was the last shepherd.

The short Christmas pageant at the preschool was absolutely delightful. Children anxiously waiting the time to say “their line” At that point or nod of their teacher.

The Last Shepherd - Landon

I turned to Martha, a grandmother in waiting, and proudly pointed out that my grandson was the last shepherd. It was when I uttered the words “last shepherd” my mind began to wonder who in the Christmas story was the last shepherd? Who was the last one to get it and realize that the Messiah had been born.

Who was the last shepherd in the gospel story to actually clue in to the fact that an angel stood among them?

The Air Show

Landon and I went to the air show this past summer. I was amazed with how he was able to pick out the small dots in the sky and identify quickly when a plane was coming. Certainly he would not have been the last shepherd. He would’ve seen that angel coming a mile away.

But some shepherd had to be the last. Maybe he was bent over tying his sandal, or doing his last round protectively circling the herd.

The ancient text reads:

And there were shepherds in that very region bivouacking in the fields under the open sky, and guarding their flock during the appointed night watches. And an angel of the Lord took his stand at their side, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they feared a great fear. And the angel said to them, “stop being afraid. For behold, I am bringing you good tidings of great joy, which joy is of such a nature that it shall pertain to all people because there was boring to you today a savior who is Christ, the Lord, in the city of David. And this shall be an unusual and distinguishing token of identification for you; you shall find a newborn infant which has been wrapped in cloth bands, and is lying in a feeding trough.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the army of Heaven, praising God and saying, “glory in the highest places to God, and upon earth peace among men of goodwill.”

Now that was a message we would not want to miss out on. On that evening I’m sure the glory around this angelic interruption would have captured all of the shepherds’ attention. But for you and I today, we need to be alert to all the ways that God may appear to us for it is so easy to grow spiritually blind or deaf.  Often we can have no sense of expectancy, and hear nothing from the Lord. If we come into the day of alert and expecting God to speak to us, he will do just that.

I am positive that if we are alert this Christmas season we will hear God’s voice speaking to us through carols, a sermon, that friend of yours, or perhaps a book or radio broadcast.

So this Christmas let’s listen to everything God wants to say to us – no matter where you are in the lineup, first, second or last.

Merry Christmas,

Carson Pue