THE WAKEFUL SHEPHERD
One morning as I was just waking up I looked out the window and could just see the very beginnings of the dawn as the light from the sun was coming to the horizon. I thought of Mary Baker Eddy’s words in her Preface to Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures where she says “The wakeful shepherd beholds the first faint morning beams, ere cometh the full radiance of a risen day.” (p. via:2-12). It was calling me to wake up and begin my day by trusting God to care for me and show me how I could best serve Him, my neighbour and fellow man that day. It was calling me to watch and listen for the first steps even if I couldn’t see the whole picture. It was telling me to watch and trust.
Several years ago when my husband and I were travelling in Israel we stopped at the edge of a road where we could see several fields with the town of Bethlehem in the background. These fields were very dry and didn’t look to me like they had much nourishing grass for sheep to feed on, but these were the fields where the shepherds may have brought their sheep on the first Christmas. They would have stayed with them day and night in order that their flocks could benefit from whatever goodness, however small, those fields provided. But, one night, they did leave them. As I stood there I thought of the great trust these shepherds must have had to leave their animals - their livelihoods - when they heard that something wonderful had come to a nearby stable. Their trust in good caused them to fearlessly leave their flocks and go forward. They didn’t know the whole story like we do now but they did know they had to go and meet this special child who would show them the healing Christ.
We often associate shepherds with Christmas but at Christmastime and throughout the year don’t we all need to wake up to the early light of God’s love and then trust Him to lead us on step by step to the fullness of His goodness?