When we first moved to England, we lived in a small cottage on a 100-acre estate. The sheep pasture came right up behind our house. In the spring time the sound of new lambs bleating for milk mingled with the smell of spring and the rising of yellow daffodils.
Our landlady was a wonderful woman in her 50s. She played tennis, was involved in the community, and ran the estate efficiently. She was in shape and always dressed well.
But everything changed when she worked with the sheep – in fact, the first time we saw her she was hoisting a dead sheep into the back of her Mercedes SUV. Mud and sheep shit covered her thigh-high Wellingtons.
Dealing with sheep is a dirty business.
* * * * *
This morning as I read through the story of Jesus birth, two words jumped out at me: “to you.” The angel appeared to the shepherds. The angel tells them not to freak out, then says:
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you.
The angel could have stopped after the word “born,” or the angel could have said, “to the whole world,” or “to the Jews.”
But the angel said, “to you.”
To the shepherds.
The ones up to their knees in sheep shit.
In other words: all of us.