Like the Shepherds
before the new-born Jesus,
modern Christians kneel
before Christ in the Crib.
IN PALESTINE the flocks of sheep and goats were kept out of doors all year round. Very often the shepherds of flocks would join forces at night, to be that much safer from thieves and wild animals. The life of these desert shepherds was nomadic; such a life kept them from synagogue services in the towns and from the feasts in Jerusalem. For that reason they and their profession were held in scorn by most Jews.
It was not to the wise of this earth in their pride, not to the rich, but to these humble men that the Christ Child sent His first call through the angels to come to Bethlehem. They readily went to the manger and knelt in adoration before the Infant. Mary and Joseph instructed them as to the meaning of all that they saw and heard. They blessed the Lord and sang His praises, telling all whom they saw of the wonders in Bethlehem.
When we kneel before the cribs in our churches, cribs which are strong reminders of all that Jesus suffered because of the lack of necessities for a new-born child, we do well to recall that Jesus came to us in the stable of Bethlehem as a poor and humble Infant, so that we might love Him rather than fear Him. Saint Ambrose reflected on the mystery of Bethlehem and wrote: “He is a little One, that you may be a perfect man; He is bound in swaddling clothes, that you may be unbound from the fetters of death; He is on earth that you may be in heaven.” The most acceptable gift we can bring this holy Child is a heart, humble, contrite, and loving like those of the shepherds.
Information from The Life of Christ “Our Lord’s Life with Lesson in His Own Words for Our Life Today” The Catholic Press, Inc. 1959 © 1954 edited by Reverend John P. O’Connell, MASTD and Jex Martin, MA following mainly A Chronological Harmony of the Gospels by Stephen J Hartdegen OFM. NIHIL OBSTAT John A McMahon; IMPRIMATUR Samuel Cardinal Stritch, Archbishop of Chicago August 1, 1953. Print. Father