On the first day of a new job, one of the first tasks is to introduce the newbie to everyone. It’s part of the orientation, part of saying to the newbie, “here is who you are part of, here is the heritage you are joining.”
On the night Jesus was born, an angel stood in front of some shepherds, telling them that a baby had been born in Bethlehem, the city of David, the city of the shepherd king.
The angel was sending the shepherds to the ultimate in new job orientations.
In thirty years, Jesus was going to describe himself as a shepherd, was going to talk about his work with people in images that would have been completely familiar to these guys that were visiting him that night.
In thirty years, Jesus was going to talk about a shepherd. This shepherd realized that one sheep is away from the others, at risk, alone. This shepherd left a flock of 99 sheep and headed off looking for the one. He was going to talk about finding the one sheep being worth risking everything. After finding the one, this shepherd was going to have a party and tell everyone that the lost sheep was found, everyone.
When Jesus told that story, he had lived in the middle of it, the night he was born.
This post and the rest of my Advent writings are available as a FREE downloadable pdf, advent2008 (Right click on the link to the left and save the file to your computer).