For some, the road to Bethlehem begins at work. It’s night time, the third shift, and shepherds are keeping an eye on the sheep who are grazing in a place too far away to be brought into the fold each night. The watchful eye of the shepherds protect the sheep from wolves, jackals and maybe even mountain lions and bears. While a shepherd, David became quite good using a staff and a sling to keep the predators away from the flock. These guys were very good at their jobs.
How many times had the shepherds taken the road to Bethlehem? For work, to see friends, to kiss their wives, to hug their kids, and to collect their wages. I’ll bet they knew the road to Bethlehem like the back of their hands.
What roads, routes or paths are so familiar to you that you don’t even think about them? The commute to work? A close friend’s home? A favorite restaurant? The grocery store? Your doctor’s office? Hopefully your church! You don’t need the GPS. Your car seems to know how to get to all these places all by itself. You just step on the gas.
Most of the time, we commute to work, we do our jobs, we pick up the kids and shop for groceries without much thought. It just comes naturally. Just like the shepherds. But soon they will take the road to Bethlehem and gain a part in every Christmas program in every church. Those who play the part of the shepherds will have simple costumes, few lines, and younger siblings playing the part of their sheep. It’s hard to imagine Christmas with out them.
While many have a couple of weeks off around Christmas, many have to work this holiday. You’ve missed the worship, the programs, the candles and the carols because you had to serve food, care for a sick child, put out a fire or close up the store. Or keep an eye on the sheep.
But don’t worry. You’ve got a part in Christmas. Jesus was born for you.
Thank you, Lord, for my part in the story of Christ’s birth. Help me remember my lines. Amen.