Story Rescue: “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”- Neil Gaiman
The rescue story of the nativity would be incomplete without the shepherds “keeping watch over their flocks by night”.
They were the first to hear the announcement, beyond immediate family, that something extraordinary had occurred. A very special baby boy had been born.
I have heard this story for as long as I can remember. As a child, we read the Christmas story in our home every Christmas Eve, heard it at church, and even reenacted it as a drama to the best of our ability. But who were these men? Why shepherds?
Without A Voice
Shepherds have an ebb and flow of status in the Bible. In the early days of the Patriarchs, they held an important place. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (renamed Israel) were all nomadic and owned large herds and flocks. Along with provision and lively hood, these were a sign of the wealth of the day.
However, their neighbors, the Egyptians, did not hold shepherds in high regard at all, and when Israel devolved into slave status in Egypt, it seems this attitude toward shepherding remained with them even after their exodus.
The Shepherd Psalmist King
Still, there were shepherds. In the time of David, he was found tending sheep when anointed to be King. The fact that he was the youngest and his station in the family not highly regarded, indicates the low status of those who tended to these woolly necessary creatures. As David rose to Kingship, so did the status of the shepherd for a time.
However, at the time of the birth of Jesus, shepherds were regarded about the same as the tax collector. They were not allowed to even speak in a court of law. They had no voice.
The particular shepherds on that special night were tending the flocks for the temple. These were the sheep used in the daily required temple sacrifice. One would think they would have some kind of status, but apparently not among men. However, God cared about them and their story. He was about to rescue their story by making them a forever part of the Greatest Story Ever!
A Voice Is Who We Are – A Story Rescue
Having a voice, and a place to be heard is fundamental to personhood. It is unique to mankind. Think about it, being unable to express oneself lies at the very core of human rights.
It is the first thing attacked when one person, group, or nation moves to conquer another. Freedom of speech is deeper than the US Constitution. Having a voice, to be able to speak is in our DNA.
Family, Foundations, Flight, Faith
One of the two aspects of this BLOG is to “give lost stories a voice“, to rescue silenced stories and give them a voice. I have wondered why this drives me so. Why I need to:
- uncover and capture stories about family, both my own and the family behind our historic home,
- tell the “secret” inner workings of air traffic control and flight
- Share the substance of faith, that which upholds what we see
Being an advocate, a rescuer, and a voice, nourishes my soul.
Along with this BLOG, I compile books about my dad and others: amplifying their voices, and rescuing their stories. It is my desire to spark you to do the same.
Oral tradition is good, but writing lasts longer. By the time of Moses, mankind realized that writing down and recording history as essential, thus Moses recorded the first five books of the bible. God inspired this.
Having A Voice – An Honor And Responsibility
So God sent His angels to the voiceless shepherds and entrusted them with the biggest news ever. God chose them, with the biggest announcement in history:
Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, goodwill toward men!”
and then they were the first to see the Christ child. Not the religious or political leaders, the voiceless shepherds.
God sought out, burst in on, and spoke to marginalized ones. Then God rescued their story, gave them a voice, and people listened:
“Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.”
We are still listening today!
Your Voice, Your Story Rescue
Since God created us as we are, He is aware of when we feel, or actually are, voiceless. He hears us. He rescues our stories. Perhaps not quite as dramatically, but still, you have a voice and it matters. The Creator of the Universe says so!
What story do you have to tell? In the comments below, tell us!
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