A Christmas wish for the shepherds among us

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.'” — Luke 2:8-11

Why the shepherds?

Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus may be the most commonly recounted at Christmastime because it includes most of the story’s familiar elements: the census decree by Caesar Augustus; Mary and Joseph’s long journey to Bethlehem, only to be turned away by the “innkeeper” (who doesn’t actually appear) because there was no room; the Christ child wrapped in swaddling cloths and placed in a manger. And, of course, the shepherds, who we are told were the first group of people to learn of the messiah’s birth.

The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, by Rembrandt (1634).

The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, by Rembrandt (1634).

The list of people whom the angels passed over for Jesus’ first birth announcement is long, but pointedly it includes priests, rulers and other people of power in Hebrew society. Yes, there were the wise men who also followed the star to Bethlehem — not in Luke’s gospel, but in Matthew’s — but unlike the shepherds their arrival isn’t pegged to the day of the birth. Only the shepherds were met by “a great company of the heavenly host” and urged to seek out the newborn king.

This not only would have seemed astonishingly incongruous at the time. It also would seem out of order in our own time, if we didn’t already know how the story ends.

Shepherding was one of the “dirty jobs” of that era. It was done by men of humble means and station in life. But it was also the profession of two of the Bible’s most important leaders, Moses and David, before they became heroes. Jesus would refer to himself as “the good shepherd” who would “lay down his life for the sheep.”

So the angels’ proclaiming the birth of Jesus first to a group of shepherds carried a double dose of symbolic meaning. Not only would the messiah come from, and circulate mostly among, humble people. He would serve them and willingly die for them, the ultimate example of a sacrificial leader. The ultimate shepherd.

Now these are facts I’ve heard many times during my 38 years, not only from the Bible but from the well-known carol: “The first Noel the angels did say/Was to certain poor shepherds in fields as they lay.” But I’ve found it’s not uncommon for a particular bit of Scripture, though familiar, to jump off the page as though freshly written when the circumstances or timing are just right. This year, this scene from the Christmas story strikes me more profoundly than in the past. I think I know why.

More than anytime in recent history, 2016 was the year when the flock informed the shepherds of what a lousy job they’ve been doing. The political class, the news media, police involved in questionable-to-outrageous shootings of civilians — anything that fits into the category of “elite” or “establishment” received a bleating. And a beating, in the way of votes for Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and, overseas, Brexit.

One need not agree with those votes to see them for what they were: a rejection of institutions that were supposed to guard us but fell short. A rejection of our shepherds, or the secular ones anyway.

We don’t like to think of ourselves as sheep; it’s become something of a slur, especially among those who reject these same elites. But we are all in need of shepherds. Good ones. The kind who set aside pride and self-preservation to put the larger flock first.

If you would make a Christmas wish for the world this year, let it be for better shepherds among us.

 

Reader Comments 0

126 comments
RoadScholar
RoadScholar

AndyMan: You really should take something for that verbal diarrhea and with you believing your posts matter! Have a Happy New Year! And find something meaningful to do!

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

I made another big mistake this morning, I thumbed through the front section of the ajc on my way to the alleged Wingfield Sunday offering. Now I feel violated. It's good to see that the liberals have finally found a use for churches, albeit as a place for illegal immigrants to hide from law enforcement officials, but I have to ask; aren't you afraid that those illegal immigrant children will get molested inside of the church? From what I've read before in these pages, all that goes on inside of a church is child molestation. Now you want children to go there and hide?


I'm confused.


But anyway,


Skepticism keeps us from falling for stories about people on “our side” that are too good to check. Cynicism makes us unwilling to believe anything good about the other side. They only harden us in positions that the facts, and ultimately we, cannot defend. - Kyle Wingfield


Skepticism and cynicism are no good at all without education. For instance, the knowledge that 95% or more of what you read in the ajc is nothing but left wing mind pollution. I'm dubious just reading their sales fliers. Don't jump to conclusions here, I've also been banned at Red State and the National Review has dismissed me as a troll. And I am proud of these achievements, I wear them like Mad Dog Mattis wears the medals on his uniform. 


The day that you come to understand the word "agenda," and how it works within the "news" that you read, will be the day that you have risen above the fray and have become enlightened to the world around you. It is all the education you need. A reporter gets paid to write news articles. Someone pays the reporter to write news articles. I cannot even imagine a scenario where the person unloading their wallet tells the reporter they are paying “Go ahead, write whatever you want.” (I can see you smirking, Kyle.) And I’m not just talking about the ny times and the ajc, faux news has a terrific marketing strategy; filling the vast right wing news void. With a 50/50 country and a 90/10 news media, they have market potential coming out of their keisters. But here is where the education also comes in handy, I can see these Washington DC elitist hacks seething at the role they have been forced into, with the exception of Hannity. megynn kelly delivers her show through clenched teeth and a forced smile. She disdains common American people, to say the least.


I read the news the way that I scouted the enemy during my time in the Armed Forces. If you don’t know what your enemy is doing, your time on this Earth is short. This strategy will serve you well. The news media has become America’s number one enemy, it is the only way that you can look at it anymore. They have an agenda and these agendas have taken a prominence over the welfare of the United States of America. The point I just made is a perfect example all in itself, some in the media make it seem as though patriotism in your own country is somehow backwards and primitive thinking, but an education will bring you to wonder how someone could hate the very country that they live in. And seek to damage it. Your own welfare depends upon the health and wellbeing of this great nation; it’s like burning your own house down and providing the police with evidence that you did it. But that’s how our enemy the media works, convincing you to burn your own house down and be proud of what you’ve done.


Listen to Donald Trump. Listen to him. There is a reason that he comes to you directly on Twitter. You will never hear him on faux news or the ny times, they will not allow it. They will cut him short, take him out of context, spin what he has to say. Listen to what he has to say, directly, for yourself. He has said all of the right things, take care of our veterans, strengthen our military, lift blacks out of poverty and give them dignity. How can you be against such things? Are you insane? What has happened to you? Honestly, why do we every day, day after day, accept the poverty and despair of the black man, while we argue over transgendered restrooms? Do you realize the suffering that takes place while we are distracted by the petty and mindless issues the media foists upon us? How can we live with this?


I have heard what the President elect has said about all Americans. The pages of our future are blank and ALL OF US together will write them. ALL OF US. It is easy to say that he is lying and retreat to your own corner and wait for the transgendered bathroom bell to ring. That is what the media, our enemy, wants you to do. Me, with my education, I am going to hold Donald’s feet to the fire and I will not stop until Chicago, Detroit, Dekalb County and all of the other forgotten places of America have the same and equal opportunities that the rest of America has. This is not a republican issue or a democrat issue, it is an American issue. I have no use for political parties anymore and I invite you to join me. Let us work together for America as one, let us carry the Christmas Spirit together into this new year, let us go to the last, the least and the lost, give them your hand and let’s bring them with us.


We can do this. Shut out the noise, ignore the agendas, let us come together as one. Please. 


MarkVV
MarkVV

It might be enough to read the following sentence of the AndyMan’s diatribe below against media to see the insanity of it:

“For instance, the knowledge that 95% or more of what you read in the ajc is nothing but left wing mind pollution.”

Should we take seriously anything from someone who is capable of writing anything so monstrously stupid, and calling it the result of his “education”? From someone whose way of reading tells him that what you read in AJC about churches is only that “all that goes on inside of a church is child molestation?”

It becomes, of course, slightly less surprising with the realization that it is coming from a supporter of the one candidate whose ignorance, immorality, vulgarity and disdain for the truth “the media” have had the audacity to reveal to the public by just broadcasting or repeating his words.

I, for one, will hope that the slogans the President-elect has trumpeted about improvements will materialize, while the stupidities he voiced will end up in the garbage bin of history. That the progress our current great President has managed to achieve in spite of all the obstacles created by his political opponents will not be lost. Hope springs eternal in the human breast.

MarkVV
MarkVV

Barack Obama is our President still. Suck it up and deal with it.

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

@MarkVV

Here's hoping he unleashes hell the next 19 days, and that it's just his opening salvo.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Tom Lipscomb had a stronger characterization: “Never in the diplomatic history of the United States have 35 members of any diplomatic mission been sent home while our nations were not at war. Obama is clearly insane. There was no consultation with any other branch of the government on this, I would have him interned in Hawaii pending mental examination and swear in Biden for the duration.”


****


The internal pressure to hire is so intense in some corners of the government that at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is bringing on hundreds of employees, human-resources officials were ordered to cancel their year-end holiday vacations to process paperwork and make offers to new hires.


An internal agency update there, issued on Nov. 17, instructed officials that “all involved should be ready for an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to implement the ‘45-day Hiring Plan’ (Plan) to address a potential hiring freeze.”


The agencies rushing to bring on new employees include not just Fish and Wildlife but also the Transportation Security Administration, the National Park Service, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and parts of the Agriculture and Labor departments.


We've had better presidents than this^^, just sayin....

FIGMO2
FIGMO2

It's only 7:18 p.m. but HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! 

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Happy New Year and to a new administration. Out with the old and in with the new. Lets make our country great again. The American traditionalists have won the day for true Americans.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit Traditionalists voting for draft dodgers? Again?

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @Starik In 1968 Nixon ended draft deferments for graduate students. Clinton manipulated the draft to dodge it. So did Dubya. So did Trump.  At one time draft dodging wasn't looked upon with favor. It was a duty to serve if called.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @SGTGrit GWB did not dodge the draft. He served in the air national guard and volunteered for Vietnam. The air war was winding down during his time and his volunteer request was turned down. Don't you recall Dan Rather, being made out to be a fool on that allegation?

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @Starik I followed this closely. A NG slot was very hard to come by in those days as a draft dodge. Bush I was a rich Congressman. He got sonny into the "Champagne Squadron" of the Texas ANG, flying obsolete fighter planes and then left early for political work.  At least Clinton admitted dodging.  Trump took the medical certificate route.  The air war was very active, both our planes and VNAF.  No F-102s; I saw F-4s, A-1s and other planes, like AC-130s and many types of transports.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @SGTGrit  How is it explained that given GWB volunteered for Vietnam he was trying to evade military service? He was trained to and was flying obsolete fighter aircraft and that along with the winding down of our commitment to the war retraining pilots to fly F-4s and A-1 attack aircraft wasn't viewed as a priority. Nobody has proven that Bush senior intervened in shielding his son from combat in Vietnam or that GWB, tried to hide behind the Bush political influence. The left has attempted in their usual lame fashion to make this myth a reality. I think you're smarter than that.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @Starik Where did you get the factoid about volunteering for Vietnam? Sorry Sarge, he dodged the draft. That goes for those that enlisted in the Reserves. My basic training company had a bunch of them.  Meanwhile we were drafting category 4 people and even some 5s. Some poor guy, literally, with a very low IQ went in place of Bush. I guess a majority of people think those of us who obeyed the law were a bunch of fools. I'm annoyed.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @Starik I had a guy in my unit who was teaching English in Canada and had a PhD. He went. Another guy had fantastically big feet - in Vietnam they couldn't find boots for him, so he served in dress shoes and jungle fatigues. Another was missing part of his trigger finger.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @SGTGrit  American traditionalists voting for draft dodgers? I don't think so, did Bill Clinton or Barack Hussein Obama, serve in the military? I don't think so. The military of today voted overwhelmingly for Trump? Yes they did. Probably enough said.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

@Starik @SGTGrit  When the Dan Rather, story broke there was a flurry of stories about Bush's service. I'm sure you recall all that was being reported most with political motive to discredit him. There were those, however, that came forward to defend him and I remember that it was reported Bush, volunteered for Vietnam duty. Bush, entered the guard in 68 and served just over five years of his six year obligation. He requested and was granted an early release and was discharged honorably. I don't know all of the details associated with his service but by 68 and after Tet it was clear that the politicians were turning against further involvement. unfortunately, people like yourself were still being called to fight in a no win war. I was out in the summer of 67, so I missed what I later learned was a serious breakdown in morale and discipline that even effected the Marine Corps. I salute you for serving in that time and circumstance.

Starik
Starik

@SGTGrit @Starik I'd never heard, from any source, that Bush tried to volunteer for VN.  Bush, Clinton, Trump and I are all people who graduated from college as grad school deferments were ending. Anybody who joined the National Guard or Reserves were draft dodging. Slots in those weekend warrior slots were very hard to come by. Similarly, lots of folks presented notes from doctors, as did Trump. Somebody had to go to Vietnam to arrive at "Peace With Honor," which arrived without the honor after 1975. While Bush, Clinton and Trump enjoyed themselves "Project 100,000" were drafted into the Army, Air Force, and Marines between late 1966 and the end of the draft. . Many of these previously disqualified people were Category 4 (IQ72-91) and some were Category 5s - Cat 5s were supposedly excluded, but a little cheating and administrative actions got them in. Under the mental health system, a "moron" was 51-70. I knew a junior officer with a GED, and another with junior college - Like Lt. Calley.

SGTGrit
SGTGrit

Looks like Obama is going to be dragged kicking and screaming out of the White House. This horrible former president and his stooges in congress can't come to grips with the fact that they lost another national election and the American people have repudiated their anti-American policies. A battle royal is brewing and now is the time to kick these clowns to the trash heap of historical obscurity.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Will the APHIS utilize Guantanamo once it's empty of terrorists?


LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

During the period covered by the Open the Books report, EPA spent over $3 million on military equipment, including guns and ammo, tanks, drones, helicopters, camouflage, night-vision goggles, and other military hardware. And cops – EPA spent $715 million altogether on its Criminal Enforcement Program. APHIS spent even more – $4.77 million on guns, ammo, and military equipment, as well as the salaries and expenses of 140 cops. At EPA, there are almost 200 of these “Special Agents,” and the agency estimates that each one costs taxpayers $216,000 per year in salary, travel, equipment, training and other expenses.


APHIS, of course being the Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service. (Excuse me while I scream.) I didn't even know we had an Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service, never mind one with an army the size of Mexico's.


And here you are telling me that liberals aren't effing crazy. Yeah, okay.


"Drop that Round Up sprayer and slowly back away. Or else."


http://www.gjsentinel.com/opinion/articles/army-navy-air-force-epa


LOCK HER UP!

MarkVV
MarkVV

@AndyManUSA#45 I feel sorry for you. I hope you will get some help and get better next year.

Starik
Starik

@AndyManUSA#45 $3 million doesn't buy much these days. Bring back the M151! The M-14 as well? And the 1911!

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@Starik @AndyManUSA#45 A couple more years of obozo, they would have had Hellfire missiles and Ticonderoga class cruisers.


Thank God for the return of sanity.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

In fact, the promotion of illegal immigration and the segregation of illegal immigrants into barrios in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York proves that liberal Democrats still cling to their principles of impoverishing minorities by race and then using their despair to obtain votes. No one can argue that Democrats respect Hispanics when they say illegal immigrants are in the U.S. to do “low paid jobs no one else will do.” This is racist, exploitive, and brutal language, intended to achieve only one goal: to keep Hispanics in poverty, just as they did blacks. In fact, this degrading language toward Hispanics is an exact duplication, a precise resurrection, of the language used to enslave blacks: that people from Africa are needed to pick cotton and tobacco because these are low paid jobs no one else will do.


This intentional degradation of an entire group of people is shocking to see practiced today, but it has been done with such subtlety and rhetorical sleight of hand that it has worked.


When these facts of history are combined with the rhetoric and actions of liberal Democrats today, the true nature of their scheme can be understood: that they, and they alone, have institutionalized white supremacy, in order to maintain their political power. Political power enables them to control these two racial groups and guarantee political power far into the future.


Liberal Democrats institutionalized white supremacy by keeping blacks and Hispanics in poverty through government institutions, particularly education and the support of single motherhood through entitlement programs. These facts are indisputable.


Fact.


MAGA #45 will change that. And it is what the democrats fear the most.


http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/12/how_liberal_democrats_institutionalized_white_supremacy.html

Starik
Starik

@MarkVV @AndyManUSA#45 Dummy, give the Hispanics their green cards and they will cease to be poor. Hard workers. North Fulton has plenty of well off black folks. Hard workers. Good people. Who says whites are supreme? Asians as a group seem to be smarter.

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

I don't know about everybody else but my hillary clinton free holiday season has been the best evah.


Ever!

Eye wonder
Eye wonder

That's pretty pathetic, IReportYouWhine.

Fact

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Putin shooed paper tiger obozo out of syria and put his muslim brotherhood gang of "rebels" into the ground. Major foreign policy embarrassment kudos to you liberals. Another fantastic loss, too many to keep track of. Your buddies in iran get a bigger share of the spoils than you do. Perhaps you should occupy yourselves with Tonka toys, or some such, in the oval office for the next 22 days, so that we can keep what remains of the free world intact, no?


Amateurs.


And by the way, you had your chance to bow up on the Russian and he sent you running along with your tail between your legs. Calling on the Cons to defend your honor now is rather cheesy. But then again, what else should we expect from you rats?






AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

“The leaving administration has no reason and no political or moral right for such drastic and disruptive steps with regards to bilateral relations with Russia. Forgive me for being harsh, but I just cannot find other words: this is the agony of not the lame ducks, but of political corpses,” the Russian Senator said. 


“[President Obama] put at stake the US’ reputation as an adequate state that ensures policy continuity in the process of change of power.”


“This is really a disturbing news,” responded Kosachev’s deputy, Alexei Chepa. According to the politician, Obama’s goal was simply to create new problems for President-elect Donald Trump—more obstacles in building better relations with Russia. “It creates additional difficulties for the [Trump] administration to overcome later.”


“We have been saying this all along,” Zakharova posted later in the day on Facebook, “people [who] inhabited the White House for 8 years are not Administration but a bunch of foreign policy losers, angry and primitive. Today, Obama admitted this officially. The most amazing thing is that, having not been able to write down into the history of the Presidency any achievements on international arena, the Nobel Prize Laureate managed to put a fat blob instead of elegant dot… Today, America, American people were humiliated by their own President. Not by international terrorists or foreign enemy’s troops. It’s a curtain time. [The] ugly show is over. The whole world, from stalls to the gallery, had been watching the crashing blow to the prestige of America and to its leadership, caused by Barak Obama and his illiterate foreign policy team that opened to the world her biggest secret – exclusiveness was a mask for helplessness. And no enemy of the United States could have done worse damage.”


“Obama is playing dangerous games. He started to crash wildly everything around him,” top political commentator and pro-Kremlin propagandist Dmitry Kiselyov raved on his TV show. Obama set the foundation for another colored revolution—this time in America. “Now, with all of his might, Obama tries to spoil everything everywhere for the President-elect Trump. And with every day, his behavior gets worse and worse. It seems that on the eve of the inauguration—January, 20—he will have nothing else left to do for himself but to break all the windows in the White House and to leave behind a pile [of crap] on the steps.”


Tell us how you really feel, Vladmir.

MarkVV
MarkVV

@AndyManUSA#45 As the above drivel by Maria Zakharova clearly shows, the current Russian politics and propaganda differs little from what they were during the times of Stalin, Brezhnev and other Soviet leaders before Gorbachov. And that is the regime Trump admires.

lvg
lvg

Love watching the Black guy from Kenya in the White House make a fool out of the Clown-elect and all the Cons as they scurry to the hills while Clown elect puts his misdeeds above the good of the country. 

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Gender is fluid.


So is psychosis.


Just sayin.....

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Iran Warns U.S., Foreign Fighter Jets With Air Defense Drill


"In the past three days of military drills, the air defense has given warnings to 12 aircraft of trans-regional countries to stay away from the country's airspace." Gen. Abbas Farajpour was quoted as saying by the semi-official Tasnim news agency. Tasnim, which is close to Iran's military, said the aircraft included U.S. fighter jets and drones.


Oh my, I'll bet that the sight of an iranian F4 rising up into the sky must bring great fear and consternation to the pilots of the F/A 18 E/F Super Hornets hahahahahaha.


Ahahahahahahaha, come on, man, you're killing me.


http://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2016/12/29/iran_warns_us_foreign_fighter_jets_with_air_defense_drill_110562.html


LOCK HER UP!

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

There are burgeoning signs that federal employees at the EPA are giving thought to resisting the policies of incoming EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. An article in the Christian Science Monitor by Zack Colman about the “15,000 counterweights” to Trump at the EPA includes a supportive quote from an anonymous EPA employee. According to reporting by the Washington Examiner’s John Siciliano, outgoing Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) “urge[d] EPA to resist Trump. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial by Kim Strassel reports that the EPA transition team is being stonewalled by existing staff whose duty it is to cooperate.


Defund and dismiss.


MAGA #45


https://cei.org/blog/can-any-branch-government-oversee-epa

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

Not sure where the picture came from but it's kinda cool.

MarkVV
MarkVV

Mr. Wingfield,

While you are apparently too busy to pay attention to your blog, it has again deteriorated to a degree you promised not to tolerate. I refer specifically to the comments posted under the handle AndyManUSA#45, an example of which is the following, posted  at about 5 pm today, December 28:

“obozo is nothing more than a mouthy little punk, kinda like you are.”

The above post  breaks two parts of your rules, prohibiting insults of other posters, and prohibiting insults of public figures. I ask you to make clear to AndyManUSA#45 that such insults will not be tolerated,

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

MarkVV 4 days ago

@AndyManUSA#45 Unlike the Putin's backside-licking Trump, Obama has shown spine in telling Netanyahu that "enough is enough."


Moron

MarkVV
MarkVV

@AndyManUSA#45 I will let Kyle decide whether calling Mr. Trump’s behavior “licking Mr. Putin’s backside” is over the line, and if it is, I will gladly refrain from doing so. On the other hand, calling your comments a “prepubertal twaddle” is a characterization I maintain is valid. Calling people names is a different issue,Calling the President “obozo” and “punk” is, in my opinion, clearly a prohibited insult, as is calling other posters “punk” or “moron.”

 

AndyManUSA#45
AndyManUSA#45

@MarkVV @AndyManUSA#45


Scroll down, dearie, you and breckenridge were the first ones to vomit on this blog. And, of course, the first ones to whine and moan when it gets thrown back at ya.


I agree with you. Kyle should not continue to turn a blind eye to the amwets, brokenridges and mealy mouthed marks of blogland. I have no problem at all staying in the confines of civility and am probably a more effective messenger when I do. But you, my friend, may come to find that you and your kind have very little to say under such a regime.


Be careful what you wish for.