Envying the Shepherds

Greek Shepherd


I think we finally have our schedule set up, with leaders and musicians and practices and gatherings on the horizon.

I think today we may finally get our tree set up.  I'm not sure our kids will let it slide another day.

I think this week I might have time to get some gifts together...finally.

I think adding Charge Conference, our main administrative meeting, the week before Christmas is going to add a burden that didn't need to be there...but really "needed" to be there because of scheduling issues.

I think I need to read this quote again from Jeff Monroe.

Friends from Europe were visiting and after a long day we were discussing what to do for dinner. Sergio, whose family is from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, said, “My father was a shepherd. Like him, I am a simple man. If I have some bread, a piece of cheese and a glass of wine I’ll be happy.”

My father was a shepherd! Have you ever heard someone say that? How many shepherds or shepherds’ sons do you know?

Later that night, a smiling Sergio had his bread, cheese and wine. And I learned a lesson about joy. There is a relationship between joy and simplicity. The more we have, the more cluttered our lives become, the more difficult it is to find that elusive combination of delight, satisfaction and well-being known as joy.

Here’s my life too often: I have 300 channels on my television and am bored that there’s nothing on. I have hundreds of Facebook friends but precious few people I really share my life with. There are multiple cell phones, land lines, televisions, PCs, laptops and an iPad in my house, yet I feel increasingly out of touch. And Christmas? Well, Christmas can become a seemingly endless must-do list of tasks that have little relationship to joy. Amid the often unfulfilling complexity of modern life, I am reminded of the elegant simplicity of figures like the shepherds in Luke 2, who cannot contain their joy after what they’ve seen in Bethlehem. I envy them.

Yes, there are times in my own life that I envy the Shepherds.  Even as I pastor, or shepherd, a people I can seem so far removed from the hands-on journeying and guiding that seems so basic to the role.  Too much to do.  Too much to think.  Too many places to go.

And this Christmas season doesn't seem to help.

And so, for today, I'll envy our Shepherds.