Sunday, December 2, 2012

Notes from the Corner - Advent I - Hope for the Shepherds

Source: Wikimedia Commons
I have been thinking about shepherds as we begin this Advent. Each of the four weeks of Advent has a traditional theme: hope, then peace, joy, and love. This first week, I wonder what those sheep herders in the hill country around Bethlehem would have hoped for.

Shepherds weren’t well-off, well-groomed, or well-respected. No child said, “I want to be a shepherd when I grow up.” They were the smelly, rowdy cowhands of ancient Palestine.
What did these men hope for? Did they dream of a different life--one with more security and fewer cold nights on look out for wild animals and sheep rustlers? Or did they simply wish for a better paycheck to spend at the Bethlehem saloon? My biggest question is how Mary’s newborn baby would meet those hopes, fulfilling some and dashing others.

What do we hope for--when we’re on the job, when we’re caring for our sick kids, when we wake up in the wee hours and are unable to get back to sleep? How does Jesus meet or challenge these day-to-day dreams and desires?

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