Advent Firesiders

Shepherds (2016)

As part of my village of Hurstpierpoint's annual festival we were treated to sheep dog demonstrations with dogs ranging from 12 years to 18 months. Now I know that the shepherds at the time of Jesus did not have dogs which underlines even more emphatically what clever people they were. I described them as having "simplicity" earlier but that's far different from being simple.

If you think of shepherds as being educated in their vocation from generation to generation, doing something useful and one hopes fulfilling, it puts a rather different slant on the crib; these people were far from being simple yokels to be contrasted, of course, with wise men or kings; but, then, I am growing sceptical of kings and even of wise men and, as I hinted earlier, of myself. The wise men could not save us from Brexit and Trump; if anything their wisdom put people off; but there is something wonderful and transparent about the skill of a shepherd, with or without dogs. It can't be denied, it's there for all to see.