Today, we’re looking at the events of that first Christmas through the eyes of ‘David’, a shepherd. We are often given a ‘romantic’ view of the shepherds, but Cottrell makes it clear that these were crude, vulgar men, used to a hard lifestyle, enjoying women and drink. Alongside, they were gentle (but pragmatic), as they cared for their animals (with fore-echoes of Jesus’ coming as look at ‘the lamb’s blood shed’, and questioning whether there’s a higher purpose to that. Unlike the Magi, his eyes are focused on the ground, as he needs to pay attention to the sheep – stupid, mindless, and silly… When the angels appeared, fear filled the shepherds, but also a calm as they basked in the glory. An ordinary man, he stated that “normal will never be the same again”. They were so excited/convinced, that they left the sheep behind, raucously entered Bethlehem, then sat in calm silence admiring Jesus, unable to understand why God would visit ‘such a dismal place‘, but filled with something that overflowed so that they had to tell everyone that they met.
As Brian looks back to 1914, when the ‘light’ of humanity broke through the fighting in that ‘simple’ football match on the front at World War 1, he suggests:
Try this! Put down your weapons, today. Look for the good in someone else. Especially in your enemy, or someone you really don’t like. Watch for goodness breaking out in difficult conditions, and celebrate it. Gossip about it, thank people, and report the good news within the RSVPs! Try to rise up beyond your own entrenched position, and see what happens when you do.
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.