Sheep and shepherds

There are so many images of shepherding that are surrounding me.  An old song and Bible verse about how God treats his flock, loving, tender, gentle, peaceful.  That God feeds them like a shepherd, gathers the lamb in His arms, carries them in his bosom, and gently leads those that are with young.  Or in John where Christ is the good shepherd and the sheep know his voice, yet there are some who don't know that they know his voice and he will gather them into the flock also.

These all bring comfort a picture of care in a troubling world.  After all who cares for us and loves us like this?  It is a deep gift of the season.  Because even though shepherds were not the most pleasant people or even peaceful people God uses them in these images.  As peace loving, tender caring, cradling those who are weak.  So peace and love are born in the most unlikely place amongst the care of the shepherds. 

Yet isn't that just like the God we want to know, the God we want to take care of us, the God who is for all those on the margins, for the weak, for the lowly?  It is a reminder to us that we don't always find God in the most likely places or people.  Sometimes we have to have eyes to see where God dwells.