~ The Old Shepherd's Tale ~
"Old man, tell us the story,
of long ago and all the glory.
We want to hear it again,
wonderful story, come on Ben!"
The old man shuffled, sitting down,
staff in hand, he looked around.
Observing faces of men he knew,
he began story of adventure so true.
"As a young man tending sheep,
it was night and I was almost asleep.
When a bright light in sky afar,
moved towards me, it was a star.
Herdsmen nearby, were frightened each one,
quaking and fearful, ready to run.
We gazed at the star, high in the sky,
standing together, wondering why.
Sweet, pure singing filled the air,
angels they were, I would swear.
Such thrilling music to our ears,
I knew, we had nothing to fear.
The star began moving, angels following,
we stood transformed, nervously swallowing.
Several of us began slowly walking,
the star seemed to beckon, we did no talking.
Over the hills with valleys so dark,
star shining, angels singing like a lark.
The distance so far, we were so brave,
finally reaching a manger in a cave.
Behind us as we stood looking in,
three magnificent Kings went within.
They kneeled with expensive gifts in hand,
we in awe, speechless, did silently stand.
Under the low sheltering cave roof,
stood sheep, a donkey, horses on hoof.
A manger of hay had a babe inside,
Mother and Father beaming with pride.
The richly dressed Kings appeared so glad,
eyes glistening when they beheld holy lad.
Laying their costly gifts on the ground,
humbly they knelt, glorifying Babe they found.
The angels outside sang a heavenly song,
light surrounded the Babe for so long.
It's a moment that stays in my mind,
The Babe, God's gift to all mankind."
The old Shepherd stopped, catching his breath,
as men sighed at what he had said.
It was a moment of reverence and thought,
Salvation in Christ, our sins He sought.
"I almost cried at the loving, tender scene,
the Babe smiled and looked straight at me.
My heart knew this was no ordinary child,
I knelt, too, in prayerful style.
The Son of God had come to earth,
to preach and give spiritual birth.
Love and peace surrounded my heart,
as we worshiped the child, then we did depart."
The peace, a stillness descended on all,
the men knew the story and God's call.
The old Shepherd reminiscing again,
Recalled the man he called Friend.
The men listening, spoke so softly,
Wishing they had experienced the event so lofty.
Yet the story is repeated over the years,
You and I have heard it with our ears.
Joan C. Nelson-Payne © 2005