Thirty Years

Has it really been almost 30 years?

It seems like yesterday.

It was real, wasn’t it?

That luminous evanescent heavenly messenger 

Who lit up the entire sky,

And shocked us awake?

Terrified, I froze.

Not so the sheep.

They paused, so very un-Ovis-like

And seemed to gaze upwards in serene recognition.

The incandescent messenger spoke,

His/her (I could not tell) voice, gentle, soothing:

“Do not be afraid 

… Good tidings 

… Great joy 

… Saviour 

… Messiah 

… Lord …”

The night sky erupted!

Wondrous beings

Full of life, flying, moving, dancing, singing.

Then they were gone.

We looked at each other.

“Let’s go,” someone said.

Anticipation, hearts pounding.

Pipe and whistle, song and staff

We flocked our ewes and lambs towards Bethlehem.

Didn’t really know where we were supposed to go.

But our sheep led the way 

They knew.

A grotto

Filled with livestock

Sounds. Bleating. Mooing. Braying. 

Smells. Hay, manure, urine-soaked straw, sweat.

Our sheep mingled in

With the others.

A peasant like us

Tears streaming down his face

Full of relief, wonder and joy.

A girl.

Maybe 14.

Hair matted with perspiration

Body slumped in exhaustion 

Dried blood on her tender hands.


I have never before or since seen a face so innocent, so sweet.

Well, one face.


Wrapped in a cloth, 

Lying in a feeding trough


Dark russet skin

Brown hair with a hint of chestnut

No question – a Palestinian Jew

Deep auburn eyes.

Oh, those eyes!

What was it?

Passion, love, gentle power, grace, mercy?

Has it really been almost 30 years ago?

It seems like yesterday.

Long years.

Unbroken routine.

Sheep graze.

Seasons change.

Just a peasant shepherd. 

Despised. Looked down on. Marginalized. 

Lonely nights talking to God.

Listening to the divine voice on the wind.

30 years.


Merchants, even thieves

Speak of a wonder-working rabbi in Galilee.

Could it be?

My family says I am crazy

To leave the only job a guy like me can get

And walk 80 miles north

Begging bread


Looking for the one they call Messiah.

I have never seen a lake before.

Galilee shimmers like a jewel.

Crowds along the shore.

Another peasant like me seated in a boat

Good news.

The very same eyes.

I know Him.

I love Him.

I follow Him.

©2019 Lawrence Russell Taylor

About Dr. Larry Taylor

Radical Anabaptist, Jesus Freak, Red Letter Christian, sailor, thinker, spiritual director, life coach, pastor, teacher, chaplain, counselor, writer, husband, father, grandfather, dog-sitter

Posted on January 1, 2019, in Bible, Christianity, Jesus, Kingdom Life, kingdom of God, parables, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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