I make it my business to keep to the outskirts of the flock. Sheep don’t wander much in the night, they like to stay together, but there could often be a half grown ram who will decide to be adventurous and explore a bit.
I knew there was a disturbance that night. I saw a glow in the sky and heard some weird sound, something like distant singing. I didn’t take any notice because I was trying release a stupid old ewe that had caught her wool in a thorn bush.
I circled the flock again and when I got back to the other shepherds they were gabbling on about stars and an angel. Superstitious rot, I called it. The three of them decided they must go into the village to see a baby. A baby, of all things! The less I see of babies the better.
They begged me to go with them but I refused point blank. We can’t go traipsing off in the middle of the night. We are supposed to be here watching sheep – that’s what we are paid for, little as it is.
So they went off. Idiots! I stayed here on the cold hillside, but I was used to the weather outdoors.
When they came back they carried on as though they had seen a king. There’s only one king here, Herod, and he’s not really a king, he does as the Romans tell him.
Their talk went on through the rest of the night. I left them a couple of times and did my usual rounds.
When a glimmer of silver lined the horizon it was nearly time to go home and I got to feeling curious. They had told me exactly where they had gone in the village, so I trundled off to have a look for myself.
There were no stars, no angels, of course. They sky was pinkish grey by the time I got there. I couldn’t believe it – I had come to a stable.
I went inside anyway. Dirt floor, smell of hay, feed boxes. A man and woman were there, plain country folk, just going about ordinary morning tasks. I discovered that one of the feed boxes was occupied by a baby.
Reluctantly I continued to gaze into the box. I looked at the woman and saw her look of love. Love is something I’ve got no time for but I seemed to feel it, or something like it. There was peace about that baby and a look of pride on the man’s face. I’ve never bothered with things like atmosphere or feelings but something happened in that stable.
They can keep their stars and angels. I know the new feeling I had.
I suddenly discovered I was kneeling and my head was bowed.
Bio: Winsome has written many stories, poems and articles. She loves to read Bible stories and attempt to look further into them. Winsome’s latest book, Tales the Laundress Told is available from BalboaPress and Amazon.
Ed: We felt this was a well put together tale about how realisation can overcome cynicism, that sometimes, no matter what we think we believe, there can always be that one moment that changes everything. As a story, we felt the way it was wrapped up at the end was very well done – the economic use of words had a great effect. The author could have gone on about how the shepherd suddenly felt differently and didn’t know what was happening etc – but that would have had nowhere near the impact that that one last line has.