The Good Shepherd

CHENNAI DEC. 25 . It is very significant that the angel first announced the good news of the birth of the Saviour to the shepherds. What is its significance? In the Old Testament, God is described as a shepherd. The scripture says that God tends His people like a shepherd and gathers them in His arms and carries them close to His heart. In the Book of Psalms, God is addressed as shepherd who sometimes leads people beside still waters and by green pastures and sometimes through deep valleys and rocky mountains. In the Gospels, Jesus Christ describes Himself as a shepherd. He says, "I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep." Jesus Christ demonstrated His shepherding care in His life as He dealt with various kinds of people. He taught His disciples to love one another and care for each other. He mentored them patiently and lovingly. He made Himself available to people irrespective of their backgrounds. He guided them and prepared them for the present and the future.

The early Church followed His shepherding model with fervour. People saw the demonstration of the functional love and care among the followers of Christ and were attracted to the Christian faith. The apostle, Paul, advised the elders of the Church to be the shepherds of the people. The letters of Paul, Peter and John are the reflection of the love and care of God. The shepherd cares for his sheep, nurtures them and protects them from danger. By making the lowly shepherds important players in the Christmas event, God reminds us that He cares for all His creation like a shepherd and that His care transcends all barriers. The caring and compassionate God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to reconcile all things on the Earth or in heaven to Himself. He cares for all of us in our daily life whatever our situation maybe irrespective of whether we believe that He cares for us or not. The Great Shepherd wants us to care for each other in this trouble-torn world.

Let our prayer on the Christmas day be, "Shepherd of my soul, I give You full control, wherever You may lead, I will follow: I have made the choice, to listen to Your voice, wherever You may lead, I will follow. Be it in a quiet pasture, or by a gentle stream the Shepherd of my soul is by my side; should I face a mighty mountain, or a valley dark and deep, the Shepherd of my soul will be my guide."

Francis Sunderaraj, Hyderabad

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