How the Sheep Spent the First Christmas
By Janell Carson
An EXPLOSION of light lit the sky one dark night
Giving sheep and their shepherds a terrible fright!
The shepherds were trembling, the sheep wanted to run
Didn’t know what it was, but it didn’t look fun.
Then an angel appeared in the sky, calmed their fears,
Saying, “The Son of God has been born near here.”
“We must go and see!” the shepherds cried with delight
And off they went dashing into the dark night.
The sheep looked around, getting very concerned,
Being left all alone was ba-a-ad they had learned.
Then another dear angel came walking among them
And they quieted down with the songs that he sung them.
When at last they were quiet and calm once again,
The angel said, “Please let me explain:
The child that was born in the stable in town
Is your Creator as babe in a manger come down.
“He’s starting out small and will need time to grow
And learn of this world and its joy and its woe.
So that’s where YOU come in,” he said to the sheep.
“So listen up good – this is no time to sleep!
“The ewes out among you can show what it’s like
To be fallen, cast down and in fear for your life.
He’ll learn how to help you get back on your feet
He’ll learn what you mean by the sound of your bleat.
“You ovines alone are the ones to convey
How dangerous it is to be gone astray
Away from your herd, lost and alone,
He’ll learn how to find you and bring you back home.
“He’ll see what it’s like to have His heart ache
When one lost lamb, the family tie breaks.
He’ll learn to rejoice and sing right out loud
When the one gone astray is back with the crowd.
“And a small flock of sheep is the one who can show
How the voice of their Master tells them which way to go.
He’ll learn what to say and to call you by name
And show you the way to the shelter again.
“You must also show what it takes to be brave
When you stand for the shearer and wait for your shave.
He will need to know this for a task He must do
The Father has sent Him, it really is true.
“The most serious lesson that He has to learn
Will be from you lambs, and this one concerns
The Passover Feast and your painful role in it
The atonement for sin, this Lamb will win it.
“So you sheep have been chosen to teach Him these things
Until His time comes and a dirge we must sing.
He knows you can do it or He wouldn’t ask.
In fact, he created you for just this task.
“Now don’t let His sacrifice make your hearts sad
Because what it will conquer will make all hearts glad.
God, with all people will be reconciled
And that will make all that He suffers worthwhile.”
And when he had said all that he’d come to say
The angel took flight and went on his way.
The sheep watched him go and then contemplated
All the angel had told them and then they just waited.
When their shepherds returned, in only a while
They were singing God’s praises and smiling big smiles.
Then up went the hand of one of the boys
Asking for quiet, he’d heard a small noise.
“What is it?” they asked him as he looked around.
But the source of the noise was not to be found.
“Must have been nothing,” he said with a sigh,
“But just for a moment, thought I heard someone cry.”