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The Hope of Advent: Day Six

December.7.2012

“And I will set up over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he shall feed them: he shall feed them and be their shepherd.”

– Ezekiel 34:23

In my life, when we talk about shepherds, it’s all from an imagery basis. I have never actually been around someone who has herded sheep, and my biggest exposure to sheep in general is a petting zoo, and those usually go horribly wrong. I have learned the historical significance of shepherds, which basically amounts to nothing, culturally and physically on the outskirts, more comfortable with protecting sheep than walking amongst the city walls.

I love that the shepherds are a crucial part of Advent – from the men in the field who get to experience the  announcing of the Christ child, to this passage in Ezekiel, to Jesus being the ultimate shepherd. I love the full circle nature of scripture, and I love the reality of Jesus in this role of shepherd – protecting, providing, caring, guiding and present. Since I have limited (ie: zero) experience with sheep, my only conclusion can be that it has to be very difficult to shepherd from afar. My understanding is that the best shepherds were constantly in the midst of their flock, moving from the outer edges in and back out, and I love that the one shepherd over all, set up by God is Jesus, and that he had to come to earth, be fully man and fully present in order to show us love, grace, peace and hope.

Jesus had to be here. He had to be present and in our midst for us to understand. And my hope is in the reality that we will one day experience his presence again.

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