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10 Minutes Peace

    by Susan McGrath

A Bunch of Smelly Guys
Date Posted: December 23, 2006

This time of year many of us hear the Christmas story over and over, and often the highlights are the shepherds and the wise men. Now, I would not argue that most people would be more impressed with the wise men. They were important and wealthy, perhaps even famous in their homeland. They dedicated themselves to finding the Christ child, being familiar with prophecies that he would be born. They may have been astronomers, or minor kings who took their court astronomers along as guides. The bible says little about them. Tradition gives them names and backgrounds. We do know that they went seeking.

The shepherds on the other hand were most likely young men, even adolescent boys, if we looks at other descriptions of shepherds in the bible such as David when he was a young man. They were minding their own business, or the sheep's anyway, quietly going about their lives in a familiar field. They probably didn't smell too good and they may not have had much education beyond what the typical Jewish boy of the day would have been taught - enough Hebrew to read scripture. They may have been younger sons, stuck with dreaded sheep duty. We don't know much about them either. We do know they did not go looking for the Messiah. God chose them to spring His birth announcement on the world.

They reacted with fear until the angel reassured them. Then they acted on faith and went to check out this event of the millennia. After witnessing God's promise for themselves they looked at each other and said, "Whoa, dude! Nobody's gonna believe this unless we tell them what we saw." And that's exactly what they did - joyfully.

I have to admit I often feel more like a shepherd - just a smelly guy (or gal, in my case) trying to do what needs to be done until something better comes along in life. I also feel like an unlikely candidate to receive God's grace. I'm not intellectually gifted or on Forbes' list of the most wealthy. I can get around the mall but I certainly couldn't navigate by starlight across hundreds of miles. I'm just a regular sinner who responded joyfully when God announced, "Hey! My Son died for you and I love you!" I don't always share that as joyfully as I should, but I'm working on it. After all, many years after the visit by the shepherds Jesus told his apostles, "Feed my sheep." I guess maybe that applies to me as well.

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Biography Information:
Susan McGrath is:

a recovering journalist trying to encourage others and glorify God through writing;

living the small-town life with husband Tim and sons Lincoln, 12, and Sawyer, 6;

completing a few put-off writing projects while using chocolate for therapy.
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