I've been thinking about the shepherds a lot. Several sources describe the harsh lives they led. Some research said that gone were the days when shepherding was considered noble, like with David and Moses. In the time of Jesus, some sources indicate that shepherds were frequently considered second class citizens.
8 That night, some shepherds were out in the fields near Bethlehem watching their sheep. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining around them. The shepherds were very afraid. 10 The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I have some very good news for you—news that will make everyone happy. 11 Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box" ...
15 The angels left the shepherds and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this great event the Lord has told us about.”
Luke 2: 8-12, 15 ERV
The shepherds weren't hanging out with sheep for the fun of it. The sheep were their livelihoods. And, they're not known for being the brightest lights in the barn.
So, was someone left behind to guard the sheep while the others ran off to Bethlehem to "see this great event the Lord has told us about"? What about that guy?
I know, Dear Reader, I'm ruining a perfectly wonderful story. But, my heart is breaking for the shepherd who may have been left behind.
But still, alone can be really lonely.
Or maybe, you've been in the middle of a crowd and felt totally alone. Perhaps in the middle of family and friends, and you felt like you had nothing in common with anyone.
Lean in close: I'm going to remind you of something extremely important.
Each of you should go on living according to the Lord's gift to you, and as you were when God called you. This is the rule I teach in all the churches.
1 Corinthians 7:17 GNT
And I will be with you, day after day, to the end of the age."
Matthew 28:20 VOICE
As we teeter on the doorstep to the new year, Dear Reader, I pray you will move forward boldly, with full confidence in knowing the Lord is always with you and will never leave you behind.