We now live in an era where there are a variety of worldviews. For some this time of the year means happy holidays. For others among us it is a time to celebrate Christmas. These next series of posts are about The Gnome from Santa’s Home and other tales. The Gnome has been busy this time of year working on stories on Christmas themes in both poetry and prose. He also found ‘The Shepherd’s Daughter’ and ‘The Little Angel’. Another one, ‘A Christmas Crib at Aleppo’, is coming soon.
The Shepherd’s Daughter: A back story on Luke’s Gospel
Written for an address at a Christmas Carol evening
A mother told her son a story
A shepherd returned home from the fields and looked through the curtains:
“Zipporah,” he said gently. “Zipporah, my darling, wake up.”
The daughter rubbed her eyes and gave a big, slow yawn.
Then, she took her father’s hand and went with him.
He clasped his hands around her waist and firmly, but deftly,
Picked her up and placed her carefully on the back of his donkey.
Soon they met some more shepherds with children and were off.
After a time they heard a sound. Soft, at first, as it came across the still night air.
It was like voices. Were they singing?
Gradually, as they neared, the voices were louder, and yes, they were singing a beautiful, joyous chorus of song.
As Zipporah and her companions crested a hill they saw it.
There was a cave, glowing with light. The song seemed to be within it, outside of it, all around it.
A happy song it was: “Joy to the world, and peace to all in heaven and earth!”
Soon they were so close, to the entrance of the cave.
Again, the shepherd placed his firm hands around his daughter and hoisted her off the mount. The donkey did not even flinch.
Taking her hand, the shepherd led Zipporah through the entrance of the cave.
On some straw, where animals would lay, was a mother. She was half sitting, half crouching. She held a baby and looked, gazed, oh so lovingly, into the baby’s eyes.
The woman’s husband, who crouched near her, looked up.
“Come, shepherd’s daughter,” he said.
So, she walked over and crouched down.
“What is your name, dear one,” said the mother.
In a voice nearly trembling, she replied, “Zipporah, mam.”
“What a lovely name. Well, Zipporah, meet Jesus. Here, hold him close to your heart.”
Zipporah held him, and she was filled with warmth, with joy and love. She felt so special inside and like, like she could tell the whole world.
After a time, they thanked the family and headed home.
“And that is what parents do, little Reuben,” said the mother to her son.
“They ask their children to hold Jesus close to their heart. Now, Reuben, off to sleep!”
As Reuben went to sleep, his mother returned to the scene of the shepherd’s daughter holding Jesus. It was many years since she had made that journey as the shepherd’s daughter. But Zipporah still remembered and still felt the warmth in her heart.
And as we hear the story,
We too check our heart,
Can we feel the burning?
Does it make us start?
Start with some enthusiasm,
To spread a little cheer,
A wholesome way to end one
And begin another year.
Simon C.J. Falk Commenced 11 December 2016 and completed 19 December 2016