This one got a run out last Christmas. I can’t use it again this year. But hey, you might be able to! It’s based on Luke 2:8-20.
This morning I want to tell you the story of the silly shepherd. It’s the sad story of one shepherd who couldn’t celebrate Christmas. It’s a made up story; you won’t find this particular shepherd referred to in the Bible. But it’s based on true events that are recorded for us in Luke’s Gospel. It takes place in the real historical events of the first ever Christmas. I want you to imagine that there was one shepherd who was quite unlike the other shepherds. He didn’t always do what the other shepherds did. He quite liked being different. We’ll call him, Digby.
Digby was a sad shepherd. But he needn’t have been. But on the biggest most important night of his life, he made three silly mistakes.
This is the story of the silly shepherd.
The first mistake that he made is that he didn’t listen to the angels
1. He wouldn’t listen to the angels
Listen to what happened.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
Let’s imagine the scene. Let’s do more than that. Let’s act out the scene. I’m going to need some help. Here are the shepherds out on the hillside outside Bethlehem. What should they be doing? [shepherds looking after the sheep and watching out for wolves, perhaps warming themselves by the fire]. Here’s Digby the silly shepherd. He stayed in bed. He’s in his sleeping bag and tucked up in his tent. Look at what happened when the angel appeared in the sky completely out of nowhere. The shepherds were terrified when the angel appeared [so we need a terrifying angel]. The shepherds paid careful attention to what was being said. They heard the good news that produced great joy. But Digby just rolled over and went back to sleep. He decided he didn’t want to know what they were saying [ear muffs]. He may have got a good night’s sleep but he also missed out on hearing some of the best news the world has ever heard. Through the angels God told the world that he’s sent his Son to be our saviour. But Digby didn’t hear that because he didn’t listen to the angels.
We don’t want to make the same mistake, do we? It would be terrible not to hear the good news that God is sharing with us. And so we need to listen to what the angels said.
So let me ask you just so that I know you’ve got it, what did the angels announce?
2. He didn’t search for the truth
The silly shepherd made another mistake; he didn’t search for the truth. Listen to what happened
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
Let’s imagine the scene once again. The other shepherds do the sensible thing. They pack their bags, they wave goodbye to their sheep and they head off to Bethlehem [get the actors to do that]. They did that because they wanted to investigate what the angels had announced. They wanted to see for themselves whether what the angels had said was in fact true. And so they went to Bethlehem to look for a baby wrapped up and lying in a manger. Does anyone know what a manger is? It’s an animal’s feeding trough. So they knew what they looking for. And when they got there, they found exactly what they were looking for. And it was just as the angel had described. Jesus was lying in a manger. But the silly shepherd stayed behind. He missed out on what God was doing. He couldn’t know whether God was telling the truth or not. But he didn’t really want to know what was true and what wasn’t.
We don’t want to make the same mistake, do we? It would be terrible not to know what God is doing for us. And so we need to search for the truth.
So let me ask you just so that I know you’ve got it, what did the shepherds discover?
3. He couldn’t share in the celebration
The third mistake the silly shepherd made was that he couldn’t share in the celebration. Let’s listen again to what happened.
17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Let’s imagine the scene for one last time. All the other shepherds came back from Bethlehem. They were just so excited. They couldn’t help celebrating because of what they’d heard and seen. But the silly shepherd couldn’t join in. He had nothing to get excited about. He didn’t know what all the fuss was about. He didn’t know that the shepherds had found Jesus in a manger and that Jesus was God’s rescuer.
We don’t want to make the same mistake, do we? It would be terrible not to be able to join in the celebration at Christmas, wouldn’t it?
So let me ask you just so that I know you’ve got it, what were they shepherds celebrating?
Let me remind you about the silly shepherd.
- He wouldn’t listen to the angels – He stayed asleep – so he didn’t hear the good news
- He didn’t search for the truth – He stayed behind – so he didn’t find out what God was doing
- He couldn’t share the celebration – He stayed miserable – so he didn’t join in the excitement
None of us want our Christmas to turn out like the silly shepherds, do we?
And it doesn’t have to.
As long as we listen to the good news and search for the truth we’ll be able to share the celebration long with everyone else that knows and loves the Lord Jesus.
- Someone to present
- Someone to read the passage
- Someone to be the silly shepherd
- People to be extra shepherds
- Someone to be the scary angel
- Tent for silly shepherd
- Sleeping Bag for silly shepherd
- Rucksacks for other shepherds
- Celebratory items for other shepherds