A Sheep’s Surprise

Note to reader: A number of years ago, I began writing what I hoped one day would be a children’s book. It was penciled out to be 26 chapters (letters, actually) entitled “If They Could Talk.” It was to cover redemptive history from creation (Genesis) to the return of Christ (Revelation) from the perspective of animals commenting and reflecting as eye witnesses at key moments in biblical history, with target audience being children. I finished 14 of them before parenting and pastoring caught up to me. This was one of them. Other eye-witness accounts are here.


Four hundred years of silence, four hundred years of waiting; then it happened—and I was there. It was not my choice. I go where they tell me. I’m one of those, what do you call it?—compliant types. A shepherd’s crook tends to do that to you.

A Bethlehem hill, a winter’s night, a stiff Northeasterly; these are not a good combination, even for one with wool. If not for a hot fire and a warm conversation, I don’t know what our thinly clad shepherds would have done. On nights like this, I eat. It passes the time and fills the belly, an enjoyable pursuit in an otherwise not so enjoyable situation.

Then it all happened so fast, I don’t know from which direction, or if there even was a direction. But they were there, everywhere. Bunches and bunches of them; and a holy light filled the cold Judean sky.

Heaven’s silence ceased when an angelic messenger spoke: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord!”

And we sheep looked at each other; all covered with awe and bursting from what we just heard. “It is happening,” one sheep bleated from behind. “Do you hear?” he continued, talking to no one in particular, “the Messiah, he is coming to bring man back to God.”

I cried. For I knew this was so. I was standing upon history’s hinge. God’s plan, promised for centuries, was unfolding. And I was there to usher its dawning. Next, more voices of no earthly tone; clear, full, and beautiful, rang forth from the rest of the gathered angelic host: “Glory be to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” And then they were gone.

Scurrying with excitement and falling over each other with joy, our shepherds tumbled and bounded down the hill to find Him whose birth had been foretold. It was then I found myself alone as my sheep friends also had run to tell of His birth to other animal friends.

A bright star still rested above. Its glimmering rays seemed to touch a small stable in the valley below. “He is born,” I whispered to myself. “He is here,” I breathed. “The King has come. O, how shall He be received?”

God Bless,


Pastor Rich Hamlin
December 15, 2011



  1. Thank you for sharing one of your stories with us. It was lovely to read. Seeing the angels announcement of the birth of our Lord through the eyes of one of the sheep reminded me of the childlikeness we are called to have as we like sheep are called to Christ. Your children’s book would be a pleasure to read and share. I hope one day you will be able to finish it. It would be great to have it in our church library!

  2. Thank you for giving us the preview. I pray you will have the time to complete the chapters. I can’t wait to buy the book. You may have intended it to be a childrens’ book, but I will enjoy it. One copy for me, one copy for the girls. I love the last paragraph and whispered “He is here” to myself just to get the feeling of the awe.

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