Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Youth Page

Written by Miss Doreen Roth
Jeremy leaned his head back against the seat and watched the houses speed by the window. In one hand he clutched a new Bible storybook, and with the other hand he held a bag with an orange and some chocolate candies. Jeremy, his mom, dad, and two sisters were on their way home from the Christmas Sunday School program. All the children had sung and recited while their parents watched. JeremyÕs class had sung ÒO Little Town of BethlehemÓ and ÒWhile Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night,Ó and his little sister Marian had sung ÒAway in a Manger.Ó Emily was in the oldest Sunday school class and had recited Bible verses telling about the birth of Jesus. After the singing, Mr. Parkins had told a Christmas story, and each child had received a book from its teacher. And now it was all over, and they were on their way home.

Jeremy flipped through the pages of his new book. He looked at the bright pictures, not stopping to read the words. Later, he would read the story of the shepherds keeping watch over their sheep near Bethlehem. He looked out the window again. Too bad Christmas was already over. It always took such a long time to come. ÒMom,Ó he called to the front of the car to get her attention, Òdoes Christmas always come exactly on December 25?Ó

ÒYes, Jeremy,Ó she replied. ÒWhy do you ask?Ó

ÒThat means itÕs exactly a year away,Ó he answered. ÒThatÕs super long. I wish it came every month! That would be the best!Ó

Jeremy looked out the window again, thinking of how many more months it was until Christmas. Another whole year. He would be in grade four by then! That was a long time to wait. It would be a whole year until they would sing Christmas carols again. A whole year until they would get a book and candy again. A whole year until they would hear another Christmas story at the program. He especially loved the Christmas story. Mr Parkins had told it this year.

Before he began, Mr. Parkins had said that he was going to tell a Christmas story that was not only a very nice story, but also a true story! Something that had really happened! Then he had told about the shepherds: those poor men and boys who were spending their night out on the hillside, watching over their sheep. Jeremy had listened with big eyes as Mr. Parkins told about the wolves that would try to get the sheep, how the sheep would wander away, and how robbers could try to steal the sheep. He could almost feel how cold and dark it was on the hillside, when ÒSuddenly!Ó Mr. Parkins had exclaimed, and all the children had jumped in their seats. ÒThe whole sky lit up,Ó he continued, Òand the shepherds jumped with fright. It was an angel, a holy messenger from God with good news for the shepherds. The angel told them that a Saviour was born: someone to save them from their sins. They could find this baby nearby in the town of Bethlehem. Then the whole sky lit up with many angels singing to God because Jesus was born. The shepherds believed the angelÕs message, and leaving their sheep behind, went to find Jesus. They found Him just like the angel had said, not in a kingÕs palace, but in a stable with animals. There they worshipped him. But,Ó Mr. Parkins said, Òthe story doesnÕt end there. When the shepherds left Mary and Joseph and the baby, they started telling everyone about the child, the Saviour that was born. And returning to their sheep, they glorified and praised God.Ó

The car pulled into the driveway, and Dad turned off the engine. They were home, but Jeremy was still thinking about the story of the shepherds.

ÒDo you think the shepherds loved the Lord Jesus?Ó Jeremy asked his dad as they were getting out of the car.

ÒI think they loved Him very much,Ó his dad said, unlocking the front door of the house. ÒThey believed what the angel told them. Then they went to find and worship Jesus, and then they were so excited, they told everyone else about the Saviour that was born.Ó

Jeremy pulled off his coat and shoes, and then helped Marian unbutton her coat. ÒI wish I was a shepherd,Ó he said. ÒI couldÕve taken care of some sheep. I wouldÕve watched for wolves and robbers and stuff, and then I could have seen the angels and Jesus too.Ó He sat down on the stairs.

Mom smiled and rumpled JeremyÕs hair. ÒI bet you would make a good shepherd,Ó she said, hanging up the coats. ÒYou take good care of Marian. But you donÕt need to be a shepherd to love Jesus. Jesus is still alive today, even though we canÕt see Him. And we have received the same message that the shepherds did. I know an angel doesnÕt come to us to tell us about Jesus, but we have the whole Bible telling us about Him!Ó Mom came and sat beside Jeremy on the stairs. ÒSo what did the shepherds do that we must do?Ó

ÒLove the Lord Jesus?Ó Jeremy asked.

ÒYes,Ó Mom replied, Òand what else?Ó

Jeremy thought for a minute. ÒTell other people about Jesus?Ó

ÒThatÕs right!Ó Mom answered. ÒWe must believe the message, go and worship the Lord Jesus, and then tell other people about Him.Ó She got up and picked up a pair of mittens on the floor. ÒThink about how we can do that,Ó she said leaving the hallway.

Jeremy sat still on the bottom step of the stairs for a moment, and then followed Mom into the family room. Climbing onto one end of the couch, he settled himself comfortably with his new book and began to read the story of the shepherds. Now he knew that it wasnÕt just a nice story about some shepherds and angels. It was a story that had really happened. And just like the shepherds learned that they needed Jesus to save them, this story showed Jeremy that he needed the Saviour too.

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