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This is a made-up story but it is based on the Bible Story in St. Luke's Gospel.

                                                                                                      Picture of Shepherd with his sheep

Jonathan's father was a shepherd who looked after the sheep on the hills near Bethlehem. Jonathan hoped that one day he would be a shepherd like his father.

"That's all well and good,"said his father. I would be very happy to have you with me because sometimes the job can be very lonely. But there's one thing I want you to understand: if you are a shepherd, people will look down on you and think that you are not important."

 "But that's not fair," said Jonathan, "And you do a very important job

Picture of a shepherd with a sling

 Jonathan thought hard for a moment and then he said,"  At times you need to be very brave and deal with any wild animals like wolves that might attack the flock.

 The great King David started out as a shepherd boy and no one thinks that he was not important. They remember how he fought off wild animals with stones from his sling." 



                                                                                                    Picture of David facing Goliath

 "Yes said his father, "And they remember how he killed the Philistine giant Goliath.

 Now you and I will probably never get the chance to do anything like that.

 Now I never learned to read and people think I'm a bit stupid but you don't read books to sheep. And another thing, I haven't time to go to the temple or the synagogue each Sabbath. I couldn't leave the sheep. So people think I am not important to God and that He does not care about me. 


Picture of the wall around Jerusalem.

Now before you decide what you want to do I would like you to spend some time with your Uncle and your cousin in Jerusalem. I did manage to get there last Passover and talked to your Uncle. He would really like you to go and stay for a while. Now I have a friend called Philip who is going to Jerusalem. He is leaving in 2 days time. You could travel in with him."

Jonathan was very excited as he set out. After 2 days travelling he was excited to see the walls of Jerusalem but he was very tired.

    Picture of Roman soldiers

They had just entered the city when a Roman soldier saw them. He turned and shouted, "Hoy! You two! Come here!" "We must do what he says," said Philip, "otherwise we will end up in Jail or worse." They went across. "Carry these 2 bundles," the soldier commanded. 
"But I have been travelling all day and I am very tired, "said Jonathan." "If you do not obey my orders I will have you whipped, " shouted the soldier. "He means it,"said Philip. Do as he says! Philip picked up one of the bundles and Jonathan picked up the other.
He struggled along with it for a little way and then collapsed exhausted.

The Roman soldier gave him a kick and said, "Useless weakling." He called 2 other people across and made them pick up the burdens. When the soldier went away Jonathan struggled to his feet. He went along a little further and came to his uncle's door.

 "Come in Jonathan," he said. "Now I don't think you ever met your cousin Jacob. "Hello, "said Jacob, "Did you have a good journey?"

"I did until a Roman soldier made me carry a heavy bundle. He threatened to beat me. When I fell to the ground he kicked me and called me useless. Can nothing be done about these Romans?" "Not for the present,"said Jacob but just wait until the Messiah comes. He will make everything right. "

"What do you mean by the Messiah?" said Jonathan, "He will be a great king," said Jacob. "God will send him and "He will be even greater than King David. He will be born in Bethlehem, probably in the King's palace."

"How do you know this?" said Jonathan. "Read what the prophets wrote." "But I cannot read," said Jonathan." "But you must learn to read," said jacob. "I am studying to be a Rabbi. If the Messiah comes I might become a very important person."
" But isn't everyone important to God?" said Jonathan. "Well, I don't think he will be interested in people like shepherds," said Jacob. "Better learn to read and become a Rabbi as I am going to."

Jonathan stayed with his Uncle and his cousin for a few days but he found that he did not like Jacob. He thought that Jacob believed that he was very important. Jonathan thought that everyone was important to God. Soon he went home and his father took him out on to the hills and began teaching him to look after the sheep.                                                                                            Picture of  an angel with the shepherds

 One evening it got very dark and Jonathan began to feel very cold. He thought of his cousin sleeping in his comfortable bed and he was just beginning to feel a little envious. 

 Then a strange think happened. The sky seemed to open and they were able to see right into heaven and hear the angels singing.  "What's happened?" Jonathan asked.

"This is most strange." said his father. God is letting us see into heaven. He is doing this for us first. Everyone thought that it would be the most important people who would be shown this first.

Jonathan thought of his cousin Jacob and realised how wrong Jacob had been to think that God would love him better because he was clever and he could read. 


       Picture of Mary and Joseph with the Baby Jesus

 Then the angels told them to go to Bethlehem and see the baby who had just been born.  They did as the angel said and found that the boy had been born in a stable and not in the King's palace as Jacob had thought. 

 His father was a not a King but a carpenter and his mother was a young girl and no one thought she was very important at that time.

Jacob realised that the baby was the Messiah but he was born in a way that no one expected. He had already started to turn everyone's world upside down.

Read last week's advent story

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