Christmas Countdown with #LovingtheBook
Day 15 – Lost Shepherd by Mike Judson
“Who were THOSE shepherds, and why were they so favored?” That one question stirred the imagination of author Michael I. Judson and led to the creation of Lost Shepherd, the fictional backstory of the first witnesses to the birth of the precious Babe of Bethlehem. After you read Lost Shepherd, watch for his answers to other compelling questions (his next books!)
When he’s not writing, he has a large family to love, gardens to grow, fun places to see, ancestors to discover, and even chickens to raise! He also has a full-time job that occupies the bulk of his waking hours. Though still a few years off, retirement beckons with aspirations of writing (with all the fun imagining and discovery that goes with it) becoming his full-time pursuit.
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Just who were the shepherds that were singled out from among earth’s inhabitants to hear the angelic announcement of Christ’s birth? What made them so special, or what uniquely qualified them to be His first witnesses? The Bible tells us very little about them. Now there is an answer!
Eleazar grows up awash in a culture of shepherding, but not among ordinary sheep. No, the flocks he and his companions tend are destined for sacrifice on the altar of the great temple at Jerusalem. Like his fathers before him, his life’s work fuels the faith of a nation that tirelessly awaits the signs of their long-foretold Messiah. But unforeseen circumstances lead Eleazar away from his purposeful existence and onto a path of doubt and life-altering decisions that threaten to destroy both his faith and his future. Only the miraculous power of the Christ Child can reclaim him and restore to him to a life of hope and peace—and to an understanding of his importance as a shepherd in Israel.
Lost Shepherd is a tale of real hope and redemption, of faith lost and reclaimed. Let the story transport you back in time as you discover anew the timeless healing power found only in the Savior Jesus Christ.
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As the boys were jockeying for position to get the best view and rapidly pointing out landmarks they had seen the day before, neither was aware of the door opening in the lavish residence behind them.
“Who are you?” a young voice asked.
Startled, both boys instantly wheeled around, finding themselves mere feet away from what they both would later agree was the most beautiful creature either of them had ever laid eyes on.
The young girl, still wiping sleep from her large green eyes, stood above them in the elevated doorway looking like an angel from Heaven. The sun had just reached the front of the home and shone on her ebony black hair and radiated from her shimmering white silk nightclothes. The scene so overpowered the boys that they had no words in reply to the girl’s question.
“Well, who are you?” she impatiently repeated.
Nathanael was the first to gather his wits and responded, “Uh, Nathanael, that’s me. And, uh, Eleazar, that’s him,” he said pointing to his companion.
“OK, but who are you and why are you here?” she demanded in faux exasperation.
“Shepherds,” Eleazar blurted, intimidated out of his young mind, but determined not to be left out of this most crucial of conversations. “Friends of Simeon.”
“Well, shepherds, you’re making too much noise,” huffed the girl who clearly considered herself a lady. “Besides, you smell funny!” With her business concluded, the nameless dream turned and went back inside her home, pulling the door shut behind her.
The boys’ eyes watched intently until the latch shut tight, then, with confused looks on their faces, each lifted an arm and began sniffing to see if what she had said was true. Convinced she was being overly sensitive, the boys smiled at each other, then giggling, ran back to the familiar surroundings of Simeon’s home. But while Nathanael was quickly on to the next thing that crossed his mind, Eleazar’s impression from the encounter would stay with him for a very long time.
Re-entering through Simeon’s front door, the boys found the old man shuffling around his kitchen, busily stoking the fire in order to prepare the morning meal for his guests.
“Ah, there you are!” he cheerily exclaimed. “And what adventure have you already been up to this beautiful morning?”
“Oh we’ve just been looking around at some of the sights,” Nathanael responded. “And we met a girl,” he added casually.
“A girl? At this hour?” Simeon asked.
“Yeah. She said we were being too loud, but we were hardly making any noise at all.”
“Well where did this girl live?” the curious old man asked.
“Down the street that way,” Nathanael said, pointing toward the girl’s home.
“Oh, so you met Dinah, did you?”
“Dinah?” Eleazar asked, quickly joining the conversation.
“Yes, she’s the daughter of Silas, Jerusalem’s most prominent gem dealer,” Simeon responded. “She’s becoming quite a beautiful young lady and very refined.”
“What does refined mean?” Nathanael asked.
“It means she thinks we smell bad,” Eleazar lamented.
Laughing, Simeon asked, “Did she say something about the way you two smell?”
The boys both nodded.
“Well don’t take it too personally. Dinah has been raised to speak her mind, but she’s really a nice person when you get to know her. I think she takes after her father quite a bit.”
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