by Ron Clarkson

Christmas Eve & Day, 1988
PRAYER: Father , we thank you for tonight. For the
anticipation of the season, the sharing of love and gifts,
the look in the eyes of our children. But most of all, for
the hope, the hope that you have put here because of your
Father, we ask that you would do something for us tonight.
In our minds eye, take us back 2000 years. Help us to walk
those dirty roads and to put ourselves in those dirty
sandals of those people around Bethlehem and understand,
maybe for the first time, what Christmas is all about, that
Christ is here.
It is very gracious of all of you, such a distinguished
group, to allow me, just a low class shepherd, to be with
you here tonight/today. Its not often that I get a chance
to come inside like this where its warm because I live right
out in the fields. Oh yes, I have a little shelter but its
nothing like this. I work the night watch, obviously the
coldest part of the day, but I know the importance of
watching over my sheep at night, and I know the importance
of a shepherd. . . oh I know its not the most glamorous
There's an old Jewish saying, " He who walks where sheep
walk has difficulty keeping his feet clean! But, I enjoy
what I do, even though most people consider us the "lowly"
ones, kind of the "scum" the "outcasts" of society.
My name is NATHAN, and I am one of the shepherds just
outside of Bethlehem. My family has been shepherding for
generations, and since I am the youngest I am the one who
gets stuck with the night watch. BUT. . . LET ME TELL YOU
ABOUT A SPECIAL NIGHT, a night I didn't mind being stuck
with the night watch.
It was a dark night and you couldn't see much, except when
the fire would flare up from a gust of wind, and then you
would see my brothers and the other shepherds lying beside
the fire, fast asleep. There was Benjamin, you didn't need
a light to know it was Benjamin, you could hear him snoring
clear over in Jerusale ...

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