the shepherd who was told of the birth of Jesus tells his story of the awesome, insprining and frightening things that happened that night
MONOLGUE – ELISHUA THE SHEPHERD (El-ee-SHU’-ah in Hebrew.)
What could we do? My brothers and I needed a new cart, and we had heard that a local priest had one for sale. He greeted us cordially enough when we knocked on his door. He was willing to give us the cart for a good price, until he found out that we were shepherds. “Get out of my house”, he said, “You should know that I don’t deal with shepherds. Your presence is defiling my home.”
We had suspected that would happen. When your livelihood keeps you out in the fields for days and nights, it’s not easy to observe all the laws of cleanliness that the Levites insist upon. You try to follow the rules and regulations, but what can you do? Comfortable city dwellers don’t understand that when you are tending sheep you cannot be constantly washing your hands and your cups and plates every time you eat.
Eventually we found a cart, and we paid about three times what it was worth. What else could we do? These things happen all the time to shepherds. I remember a time when we gave three of the finest of our flock in payment for provisions that were never delivered. I wanted justice, but my eldest brother said to me, “Elishua, where will we find a judge who will hear our case?” He was right, of course. Why should any court or magistrate or prince or king pay any attention to people so unclean and so unimportant as shepherds?
And yet, when most people look at a flock of sheep, all they see is a mass of animals. The shepherd of that flock knows every sheep by name, and he knows the personality of each one.
God of Israel, I don’t know why you chose us, my brothers and me, to be the ones who would hear the news of your Messiah. My family is the least of all clans, even amongst shepherds. I’ve never done anything very holy or important, that I should be worthy of your honor. And yet, you chose Elishua, and his brothers.
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