who looked after the sheep?
the shepherds went off to visit the newborn babe
but who minded the sheep?
there is very little told of Jesus’ birth and yet we know so much
why is that?
Mark’s gospel has him entering stage left as a grown up
John has him at the beginning but no details: 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
Matthew and Luke have accounts, but for all that. There is loads we know, that isn’t written in the Bible.
We know the names of the Magi
We know how long they travelled, following the star, which now is a comet or is two planets colliding.
We know nothing. Let’s face it. We can’t possibly get our heads around the enormous honour bestowed on us all that Jesus, left his place next to his Father and came to earth as a humble, vulnerable baby.
And it was not into a sterile maternity hospital with midwives and doctors. No it was in a grubby room that Mary delivered. Infant mortality was high as were maternal deaths during labour. There were no drugs to stop haemorrhaging. It would have to be messy, sticky, bloody.
But we don’t want to think of those things. In our carols we have a baby that doesn’t cry. Meek and mild. Oh so very cute and totally unrealistic. But it is what we know.
I like the idea of nativity plays with fish and octopus and daleks and other aliens because, we know so little, is it such a stretch to have them there.
What do we know?
Christ is not Santa
Santa is not an invisible angel
Jesus really was born, he really did preach and teach and heal and met people in the most desperate of circumstances and loved people.
Jesus really did die, a most horrific tortuous death, that he did nothing to deserve. He was the perfect one, we were the imperfect, we were the sinners that caused his death.
Jesus really did rise from death, he really did meet with some of the disciples and he really did return to heaven from where he came.
And he really will come again.
So instead of thinking about who looked after the sheep when the shepherds went to see him in the grubby room.
We should be thinking about how to look after the sheep now, how can we share the good news to the lost sheep, how can we encourage and challenge, nurture and feed the sheep today?
How can we be the person Jesus calls us to be if we get caught up in the myth and the legend surrounding his birth?
Just a thought as a distraction from my main task today