Dear Friends,

I was just thinking about the Lord’s goodness and His amazing love.  When I reflect back to my travels into the Holy Land for the first time about a year ago, indelible images come into my mind.  I hope that one day you could have the chance to travel there.  Imagining Jesus walking around with his disciples or him retreating alone into the hills to pray which are covered with olive groves, was my favorite part.  I also love picturing Jesus sitting by the Sea of Galilee breathing in the serene aroma unlike the religious and political tensions that permeate the walls of Jerusalem.

While spending time in Bethlehem, we visited the Church of the Nativity. This is a huge tourist stop because it is a place where people come to bring honor and thankful hearts to our Savior.  However, my heart was stirred when we were at the Shepherd’s Field.  It is here they believe the shepherds saw the angel the night of Jesus’ birth.  The fields are just right outside of Bethlehem.  When the guide started talking I was left with a beautiful image that still encourages me to this day.  He began by telling us that when a little lamb goes astray the shepherd injures the leg of this little lamb and puts this little wooly creature on his shoulders.  As time goes by the little lamb hears the voice of the shepherd constantly while in a safe place and in time the little lamb’s leg is healed.  When this small little creature is put down he joins the others but he no longer strays because he knows the voice of the shepherd.  It made me think of all the times when I faced some difficulties in my life. I can be kind of stubborn and want to do things my way and I get myself into a real mess!  Then when I finally give up and start reading God’s Word His voice encourages me and I feel safe as if I’m being carried on His shoulders.

I know there are many pieces of art that have been made with this image. Maybe you have one.  The Christmas before my mom passed away she gave me a small Hummel figurine.  It is of a little shepherd boy holding a little lamb in his arms.  I believe my mom knew I would need this special gift to encourage me through life.  Jesus thank you for being the Lamb of God and carrying us on your shoulders when our journey becomes too much.  You truly are, ” a friend that sticks closer than a brother.” Proverbs 18:24

God Bless You All!