Today the rain has been swirling like snow flurries, which for this Michigan girl, has been just fine as I prep and plan for not one, not two, but three big holiday parties in connection with our ministry here in Costa Rica. I poured myself another cup of coffee because in the mountains of Costa Rica, you do need wool socks and a sweater and copious amounts of café. It seemed like the perfect day to start the Christmas music and read the old familiar story from Luke 2.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about being a shepherd. In Costa Rican culture, if you are married to a pastor (as I am), you are a pastor as well. The Spanish word for pastor and shepherd is the same word: Pastor, or Pastora. Don’t you love when your second language sheds light on a biblical truth in a new way?
Just recently, I’ve come to the understanding that’s what I am doing right now, with my kids, with our church, with some of the women God has brought into my life. I am a pastora, a shepherdess.
As a woman working cross culturally, that’s you too. My fellow shepherdesses, you tend, nourish, cherish, serve, and supply. You associate as a friend with those around you. You do it willingly, eagerly.
And maybe this realization of being a shepherdess is why it hit me so hard this afternoon as I read this passage from Luke. It was as if Luke was talking about me, about us.
In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.
Out in the field keeping watch by night.
I don’t know about you, but a lot of this year has felt like a very long night, where I’ve been keeping watch for something. At times it has felt unending. More than once I’ve yelled something like “Jesus, now would be a really great time to come again! Like now! Please?”
This world is just so broken. The sheep are hurting and wounded. Some are lonely, some are lost. Sometimes this keeping watch thing gets old and I’m ready for the shift to change.
While I read this section, I wept, because it’s such a promise. I know it was a declaration for the new born baby Jesus, but there was something prophetic in it today. Listen:
And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
Did you hear that?
Though the night is cold and long, don’t be afraid.
You in the field, keeping watch while tending to the hurting and wounded, the lonely and the lost. You, shepherdess, listen!
There is Good News of Great Joy which is for ALL people, no matter what time in history or place on this planet!
Your Savior, Christ the Lord has been born! The Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for His sheep, has come! The One who gently leads us, the one who leaves the 99 to find the 1, the One who binds up the broken and heals our wounds. He’s come!
Glory to God in the Highest!
So don’t be afraid Shepherdess, Pastora. Keep on keeping watch through the long night. Keep tending, nourishing, cherishing, serving, and supplying. Keep watch for your Good Shepherd has come and is coming again!
What Good News is God giving you this month? What fears are you turning over to Him as you watch and wait?