In December, when I had pulled out the tiny nativity for my windowsill, I had noticed the missing shepherd, but now it appeared, months after I had repacked the creche with the tree lights and Christmas books. I was startled by this tiny piece of the sacred showing up with my lipgloss and bobby pins and toothpaste, this bit of the holy in a drawer full of the very ordinary.
My finding him there should have not surprised me. Certainly the shepherd was part of a holy event, but wasn't he always, from the beginning, in a very ordinary place? I think more often of the wise men, seeking. Now that was holiness, right? The searching for the Babe, one step ahead of murderous King Herod...that was the important role. But the shepherds, they were just tending their sheep, doing what they did every day. Yet, God came to them...while they were doing what they did every day.
How did I miss this part of the story? It comes to me not reading the gospel of Luke on Christmas eve but on a March morning, standing with dental floss in hand, this revelation that God meets us in the every day just as He met the shepherds so long ago. In my days of teaching phonics and manners, my hours of baking and cleaning, my moments of tying shoelaces and washing curls...He is there. It was to those souls quietly tending to their flocks, the business of their daily lives, that He sent His birth announcement across the sky. In order to find Jesus they didn't have the education and charts and the entourage that the wisemen must have had.
The shepherds were just doing what they did every day...and God found them.
May the shepherd at the bottom of my bathroom drawer remind me of His faithfulness and His grace in appearing to us as we live the ordinary of every day.
"And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them..." Luke 2:8-9