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Kate Taliaferro shares the lessons her family has learned from the shepherds on Christmas.

In our homeschool this Advent we spent a lot of intentional time in Luke’s Gospel, specifically Chapter 2. Each week, we read a little more of the Christmas story and talked about the different characters, circumstances, choices, and responses each made to this miraculous event. We were especially struck by the shepherds’ response to the angels’ message.  

When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us." So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. (Luke 2:15-16) 


The angels announce the Good News to the shepherds. They also tell them how they will know they are in the right place:

“And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:12)


But they never tell the shepherds to go and see.  

The shepherds have a choice. They could run to tell their village first. They could stay in the field and wonder at what they just heard. They freely choose to go and see for themselves the things the angels had announced. And they don’t leisurely walk there, either. Luke the Evangelist tells us they went in haste. 




My kids and I talked about this series of events and what we can learn from the shepherds. We came up with a few ideas. 

  • Sometimes we aren’t told exactly what to do, but there is clearly a “most correct” choice being presented to us. The shepherds could have told others first, before going to see Jesus. But this would have put things out of order. Before we can bring Jesus to others, we have to know Him first. Before the shepherds could share the Good News they had heard, they first had to experience Jesus for themselves. We understood this lesson in the example of setting the table for dinner. The table always needs to be set, so why not go set it when you hear or smell dinner cooking? You could wait for Mom to start doing it, then pitch in—but the better, more mature choice is to take on the responsibility ahead of time. 

  • The shepherds went in haste. When we are asked to be obedient, we ought to respond right away. Thoughts of, “I’ll do it later,” or “Maybe she will ask someone else if I’m too busy,” will not get you far in life. The day also goes more smoothly and pleasantly when tasks are done right away, rather than saved until later or forgotten.  

  • Our choices matter. Each one of us has a specific purpose on earth. God created and formed each of us out of love and for love. When God created these shepherds, He knew they would be the first to hear the Good News of the birth of Jesus. Even though they were little, simple, even outcasts perhaps, they were especially chosen to hear this announcement. Even the littlest of us in our family has a special place within it. 

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Three practical lessons for families from the shepherds at Bethlehem #CatholicMom



Copyright 2023 Kate Taliaferro
Images: Canva