A Young Shepherd's Story
fictionalized by Anita Mae Draper
On a hill not far from Bethlehem, fifteen-year-old Nathaniel knelt beside Nimbles, his favorite ewe and calmed her with his whispers. The sheep were restless, more so than usual. Sounds carried far in the still night and it had been hours since he heard the wolves howling in the wilderness miles away.
With ten years of experience, Nathaniel knew not to trust the silence. On a night such as this as an eight year old boy, he’d had his first run-in with a wild animal. He’d awoken to the sound of a bleating lamb and had rushed over to see a huge black shadow swing it’s massive paw and bat the lamb away like a fly. The shaken lamb stood by the side, quivering while its mother took a couple steps and stumbled. The bear had stripped four slices of flesh from her side and the sight had made Nathaniel tremble with rage. Sling-shot in hand, the young shepherd had reached in his pouch and snapped pebble after pebble at the huge beast, hitting its eyes, nose and even its teeth before it finally turned and bounded away, braying its displeasure. Nathaniel still remembered the rush of pride when Josiah and the other shepherds slapped him on his back and said he’d been of great service. It sure offset the sadness he had felt at losing the ewe.
Over the years, Nathaniel had faced many beasts including lions, wolves, jackals and hyenas when the beasts came up out of the Jordan River gorge looking for a fresh food source. He knew he shouldn’t gloat about his successes at defending the flock but it was hard to be humble when God had blessed him with the most accurate shot of all the shepherds.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~When I started writing about the young shepherd, I only wanted to portray the fear he felt as he faced the multitude on the hills however the more I wrote, the more Nathaniel's personality came out until I ended up with a proud young shepherd who realizes the Messiah is coming from the most humbling of beginnings.
Fun Question: Did you get what you wanted for Christmas?