In years past I’ve left a Christmas Carol here for you, or maybe, my favorite clip from A Charlie Brown Christmas — you know the one -Linus reciting the story of the Nativity of Our Lord.
When my kids were very tiny, we used to tell them the story of Christmas using the sturdy resin nativity set we had. The kids would play with the pieces, marching the Magi across the living room, placing the ass and the cow in the makeshift stable we created. They’d move Joseph and Mary throughout the living room, too, until they found the manger and Jesus was born! And the little lambs, with the iconic shepherd carrying a tiny lamb on his back, were always placed near the front, close to the baby Jesus.
One year when one of our kids was months old, John and I actually participated in a live nativity at our parish.
When the kids were older, we read from the Gospel of Luke, and then eventually, they’d read it themselves. Did you ever wonder what was going on in Bethlehem outside the stable? They often asked.
This year, Elizabeth Scalia has given us a beautiful insight into what that moment might have been like. From the frightening sounds of the unknown in the night, to the raw reality of a shepherd’s life, to the tender invitation to come closer. Because really, isn’t that what Christ wants from us? For us to come closer?
Read this moving story…it starts with the shepherd tending to a wounded sheep, and then, it explodes with amazing imagery:
My little cousin and I watch as my uncle washes away the blood, and examines the wound. He is making that odd breathless noise—halfway between a gasp of surprise and a sigh of regret—that he always makes when an attack has been thwarted. My uncle, after all, is nearly forty; an old man long past the charms of making his bed upon the chill earth at night; disenchanted with stargazing while wolves in the dark distance howl, or creep in silence, just beyond our sight.
Read the rest of Elizabeth Scalia’s “A Shepherd I Will Remain” here. It will become a classic story you’ll want to share. I promise.