The Kindness Of A Shepherd

I watched the film The Nativity Story the other night and it was really good! I had seen parts of it before and I obviously knew the story, but watching it more intently got me thinking about something.

Most of the film is about Mary (Keisha Castle-Hughes) and Joseph’s (Oscar Isaac… yes, Poe Dameron from Star Wars Oscar Isaac) journey to Bethlehem. It shows a unique and realistic portrayal, not unnaturally beautifying or hastening the long and arduous trek, but rather giving us a glimpse into the hunger, exhaustion, and pain that they most likely endured.

Along the journey as they passed through towns and cities, they of course had encounters with various types of people. There were the vendors, soothsayers, and townspeople, and there were the tax collectors, the pharisees, and Roman soldiers. Many paid little attention to the couple and their donkey. Who would? They were distinctly normal and seemingly unremarkable.

What struck me though, were the people who did take notice.

One such encounter was with a shepherd not far outside of Bethlehem. He had nothing except the sheep he oversaw. He was old, tired, and hardened by the years outside. As Mary and Joseph approached him and his fire along the side of the road, he calls to Joseph and invites them to warm themselves by his fire. They have a short interaction between them where the shepherd shares some of his life and struggles, but leaves them with a bit of wisdom that “we’re all given a gift.”

I’m sure in reality Mary and Joseph met many people along their journey. In fact, with the census taking place there’s a good probability that they traveled with a group. These people -whether they were traveling together, townspeople, pharicees, Roman soldiers, or a shepherd- had a choice to make.

How would they treat Mary and Joseph?

Odds are that along the way food ran short. Would they share their own, seeing that a pregnant woman needed the nutrition to keep her and her baby healthy?

When the nights were cold would they share their fire and warmth like the shepherd?

Would they offer their own donkey when Mary’s was too tired to continue?

All of these are real situations that they would’ve encountered and opportunities for kindness that were presented.

Just like the people who Mary and Joseph met along their journey, we’re presented with opportunities to be kind to people we encounter every day. And just as the shepherd (or few else) had no clue that he was sharing his fire with the woman who was carrying the Savior of the world, we have no clue what’s going on in someone’s life outside of the infinitesimal glimpse that we’re given.

All we’re given is a choice. And that choice, whether we know it or not, has the power to change everything.

What will you choose?

Merry Christmas.


Well, those are my remARCs. I hope they in some way, big or small, might have resonated with you. Whether it made you laugh, cry (I hope not too much), smile, or maybe think about life from a different perspective, I hope you take something away from this article that makes your day even the slightest bit better. I’d love to hear your remARCs as well. Feel free to send me an email at myremarcs@comcast.com, or leave a comment on the My RemARCs Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram pages… unless you hated it. In which case, why are you even still reading this? Hope to see you back here soon. Until then, be well and live remARCably.

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