First printed in AFA Journal in December 2014
December 2019 – Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Jack Frost nipping at your nose.
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir,
and folks dressed up like Eskimos.
December 2014 – Man, I love that song. Nobody does it like Nat King Cole. I’ve only had a couple of chestnuts in my 51 years, but they were roasted on an open fire, so I feel good about that. I was 10 years old and visiting my aunt in New York City with my Mama Wildmon, God rest her soul. I remember that trip well.
You can imagine the big eyes of a young boy from Mississippi seeing the sights of New York City for the first time. Just the sheer size of the place – six lanes of traffic, the skyscrapers and all the people – I was mesmerized. Everything was huge. Everything.
When I hear A Christmas Song, I think about walking the streets of New York in winter. I also think about Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I’ve written many times here about my affinity for this time of the year. I wonder if we’ll celebrate this season in heaven? What about college bowl games? Oh my mind – it does tend to wander.
I’m guessing that if you surveyed people about their favorite time of the year, at least 30-40% would say Christmas.
If there were one scene in history in which I could go back and play a part, I would be a shepherd in the fields when the hosts of angels came bearing the good news of the birth of Jesus. What a night!
Now I know many of you – especially my friends – are laughing at the thought of Tim Wildmon being a shepherd. Let’s just say caring for animals is not my gift. The question would be, who would die first, the sheep or me? It could go either way. And unlike the shepherd in the biblical parable, I’m not going to look for that one lost sheep. I would make this perfectly clear on my first day of duty.
“OK, you sheep people, listen up!” I would say. “First let me say it is not an honor to be here. Let’s face it, you smell terrible. Just awful. So, from time to time, I’m going to have to separate from you just to remember what fresh air smells like. Now Shepherd Tim is here because he needs a paycheck. I have no feelings for you. None. Second thing is … Hey, you in the back, hush your mouth, big boy, and pay attention, or I’ll have your tail sheared so fast it’ll make your head spin. Now, where was I? Oh yeah, second thing you need to understand is that I am your new shepherd, not you’re momma. Either you keep up with the herd, or you’re on your own. Shepherd Tim is not moved by the sounds of absentminded crying sheep who get lost. And I’m not gonna spend half my day looking for the one who wanders off and leaves the other 99. If I found that lost one, five more of you knuckleheads would be gone by the time I got back. I’d go find the five, get back and 50 of you would feel you too could take off on your own, eat fermented corn cobs, throw wild parties, and such.
“So, I hope we are all on the same page here. You respect me, I respect you. Everybody’s happy. Any questions, sheep people?”
Oh, what a sight to behold in those fields the night Christ was born. Imagine how the hearts of those shepherds did race. Luke records it this way:
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manager.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”
— Luke 2:8-14
How grateful I am that the Shepherd of shepherds, unlike Shepherd Tim, still cares enough to go seeking one lost lamb.
And all God’s sheep people said, “Amen!”