a shepherd. A lonely man…No one
welcomes a shepherd.
All I have is my time
Smelly and dirty I watch rich men's
sheep on the hill overlooking Bethlehem.
night I was in the fields watching the
sheep doze in the grass with a few of my
Shepherd buddies. I like to tip a few now
again and at times get a little soused
night we had nothing to drink.
There was no
cheer for us in the fields
while the rich were
snug in their warm beds.
Suddenly the skies lit up, we heard sounds
Voices Singing It was if all of the earth itself
was singing Our hearts leapt in fear and wonder.
What was happening? A vast sound of singing
praising the God of David was heard. I turned
the other shepherds and from the trembling
could tell they heard it too. "GLORY TO GOD
IN THE HIGHEST. PEACE AND GOODWILL
I'm not a religious man. Who has the
time for the scriptures? The Pharisees and
their long faces No. Not me, Give me a warm
fire and a good flagon any day but this this was
something different. This sound
never wept, and never stoned
anyone. This was
nothing less than a choir
of absolute joy.
great light fell from above and rested on
a stable behind the inn. For one unforgettable
moment the stable blazed in the night like a
crystal swan in a sky of suns. We fell to the
earth and knew no more.
When I awoke I was
alone. God alone knew
where my friends were. The night was silent
again as if nothing had happened at all. The
skies were dark. A dog barked twice in the
distance, dreaming in his sleep.
Drawn irresistibly to
the place where the
light fell, in fear and trembling, stinking
sheep and dirt, feeling less than nothing
having been sharing coarse stories and
with my friends in the field. I felt
to go there. To that place, that
cave in the
bank, that stable where the light
brighter than the heart of the
fire when he makes a sword.
There wasn't even a
door, just a saddle
hastily nailed over the entrance.
It didn't even
reach to the ground. This
door is open to all,
I thought as I nervously
cleared my throat and
said, "Uh… Is anyone
there? Can I… Come in…?
Please? Is anyone
there…?" A young man with
tired yet excited
eyes pulled aside the blanket. "What do you
want?" He said. "I just came to see…
I heard singing and saw a light… I… I am
in half inside, what's happening? I fell…"
and stammered, trying to put my
feelings into words.
The young man said,
"Yes… I understand.
Stepping inside I saw darkness
and dirt, animals
quietly shifting in their stalls,
the musty smell of feed
and manure everywhere.
I felt right at home, this stuff I knew very well.
I live with the sheep.
There was a
flickering candle in a stall in
In that pitch dark cave the tiny
yellow light drew me
like a moth. There was
an exhausted looking young
girl there and a…
child. A new baby lying pink and
still in a manger.
A manger, the feeding trough rough
chewed into a fuzz by the animals as
The young man said to
me, "Here This is my
Mary and this…" Gesturing with obvious
toward the manger, "This is our son Jesus.
are the first to see him, we honor you." My
were riveted on this child. He saw me
at me. "Hey" Said Joseph, " I think
he likes you.
My name is Joseph. We are here
for the census.
We really do have a house in Nazareth. I'm a
It's not much bigger than this stable,
but I built it
There was no room at the inn
I hate that my son must
be born in this place but
when the Romans whistle we Jews must come."
I mumbled something
in return, I don't know what.
I was transfixed by the baby's smile. I'd never really
looked at a baby before, preferring to leave child
rearing to the woman and speaking to children after
the bar mitzvah when they become men but something
was different about this baby.
Joseph stood beside
me busting his buttons with
pride. "Would you like to hold him?" He asked
suddenly. Mary started alarm at this but Joseph
gently touched her cheek, "It's all right sweetie,
It will be OK. I like this Shepherd." Joseph took his
son and placed him in my arms, my rough chapped
hands on that perfect new skin. From the crook of
my elbow, (as I stood there praying I wouldn't
he gazed straight into my eyes and
smiled his toothless
within me and I shifted my
arms finding a comfortable`spot' for the
to my heart. "Kootchy Kootchy Koo."
I said thoughtlessly like I had seen my sister say
to her children at her breast.
The infant began to
laugh, a musical, formless, wordless
Incredibly encouraged I began to make faces at
the boy. I stuck my tongue out at him and crossed
eyes and he went off in a wild peal of glee. I
felt as if he
were actually entering into my eyes
with his laughter.
Mary visibly relaxed
and said, " Wow…He Really
likes you, look at him!" His eyes were totally
focused on me as I stood there foolishly grimacing
and grinning, laughing as I shared this boy's newborn
Suddenly I began to dream awake. I can't explain
any other way. I was still in the stable yet… The
seemed to remain in my arms, a chalice or clear
of light and laughter, his peals sounding
laughing at me now as if I were the
friendly clown in the world.
The chalice of life
began to leak, or overflow
erupted in laughter and joy and out of the
liquid joy spilled onto the floor. Even as
the laughter in my arms near my heart continued
a shape began
to arise out of the `pool?' of
`being?' on the floor.
A mighty shape began to arise.
A young Grandfather
with feet like solid gold. He
wasn't laughing but his
eyes were as merry as the
child filled with light still
laughing in my arms.
This figure grew and grew until
His arms spanned
the entire valley, the limits of my life. Still He
grew and I saw HIM step off of the Earth itself
and hang among the heavenly lights, His great
around the world itself. Still He grew and
juggle the moon and the planets. Still
He grew! He swallowed the Sun itself as a joke.
I was not afraid,
the baby still was laughing
uncontrollably in my arms.
Very quickly the
great Grandfather became much
too large for my eyes to see and all I was left with
was the baby in my arms, still maintaining eye
contact and enjoying my funny face, the absurdity
that is me. I knew that this baby and the great
mystical Father were somehow the same,
The little boy's joy
grew and grew until He
not able to contain it and he began to
To turn into a mist or smoke, still
laughter and joy
permeating all. This mist
or smoke dissolve into me!
Right through my
skin it entered.
Then I felt it. I
began to laugh also.
"GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST"
in triumph. I felt a strong hand touch my arm
then, I realized my eyes were closed and I had
dreaming while awake. When I opened my
found I was gently rocking the baby in
my arms as He
continued to explode with that
All of us were
laughing so hard we could
catch our breath. Reluctantly I handed
child back to His Daddy. Joseph laid
the boy back
in the manger and we wiped the tears
from our eyes. Joseph warmly embraced me, "You…
in our house anytime my friend… Anytime."
I will never
be the same again.