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What Can Seniors Learn from the Shepherds in the Christmas Story?

In the beloved classic, A Charlie Brown Christmas, we see the children working on a Christmas pageant. As the parts are handed out, Linus and Shermy are selected to play the role of the shepherds, and Shermy delivers his only spoken line during the holiday special as he protests "Every Christmas it's the same. I always end up playing a shepherd."

It's easy to smile at this comment and continue on. Likewise, it's easy to notice the shepherds on Christmas cards and hear the Bible verses about them during sermons and simply keep going with our activities.

However, as we get into the heart of this special season, let's slow down for a moment and make sure we don't miss the lessons we can learn from the shepherds in the Christmas story.

Always a Shepherd

In Biblical times, the use of dogs was limited in shepherding, and the work of watching and moving the flock was done by the shepherds themselves or by their children and hired hands. Men and women alike could be shepherds, as seen in Genesis 29:6 and Exodus 2:16, and the profession required both gentleness (Isaiah 40:11) and strength (1 Samuel 17: 34-35).

There are a lot of fascinating parallels we can draw and study between our lives as Christians and those of shepherds and their flocks, but what can we glean specifically from the shepherds found in Luke 2?

They Were Faithful to Their Responsibilities

Luke 2:8 records that the shepherds were keeping watch over their sheep when the angel appeared. They were actively completing their work.

As family members, friends, citizens and Christians, we have many responsibilities. Though common day-to-day life may seem, well commonplace, it's pleasing to God when we remain faithful to the tasks He's given us.

The sum of our actions makes a difference in our own lives and the lives of those around us. As we get older, our roles and contributions may change due to physical limitations, but the influence we have remains the same and the experience we have to offer grows.

Some of our personal responsibilities include:

Sharing our faith and testimony with our family.

Taking time to nurture our friendships

Saying thank you and being attentive to those around us

Voting, volunteering and participating in our local community

Praying, reading God's word and watching for His return

They Didn't Just Observe the Events

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. Luke 2:16-17 KJV

The shepherds were never commanded to go to Bethlehem and see the newborn child. They were told of Jesus' birth and how to find Him, but the choice to respond was left up to them. God still works the same way, revealing His Son to us and showing us the way, but the decision to seek Him out is still up to us.

Today, when we are blessed with seeing God at work, let us take a cue from the shepherds and not just watch from the audience. Let's join them in participating and sharing God's love with others and showing them the joy that comes from His touch in our lives.