Today I thought about shepards. It was the children's Christmas program at our church and they told the story of Christmas as only children can. I love Christmas and I love the Christmas story. The story and the nativity are an important part of the season and there is one part that continually speaks to me and that is the shepard's role.
Maybe it is because I feel a connection with them, fellow ranchers. I have often wondered why God chose the shepards as the first he told about the earthly birth of his son. I can only imagine the scene. I would imagine the shepards were worried about the health and well-being of their sheep, thinking about the next pasture they were going to graze. Then all of the sudden, a bright light and angels were upon them.
But why did God chose them first? I think it is because most of us in agriculture understand that there is a God. We serve God as a care-taker here on earth. Each day we work in a world God created for us. We plant seeds and watch them grow into plants and eventually harvest them for food. We help animals come into this world, we feed them, watch them grow and eventually become the meat that provides us with protein. We do not know why plants and animals grow, why the sun shines or why rain is provided for us. We accept God's gifts and care for them.
Maybe it is because in agriculture we operate on faith. We know that God will provide for us. He will provide the rain, nutrients and sunshine to make our crops and livestock grow. That faith might be why he told the shepards first. I suppose that the shepards would accept the news of our Savior's birth on faith and not question that news. They accepted it, rejoiced in it and went to see the baby Jesus.
I am a proud producer of the food we all eat and a humble caretaker of all that has been trusted to me. I look upon the shepards in the nativity with awe and admiration, they represented agriculture in that most Holy of all events, for that I am grateful. I will go into this Christmas season with the faith borne in Christ and nourished in agriculture. For that I am thankful.