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Modern Shepherd at Christmas


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Herding is one of the world's oldest occupations, and shepherds are some of the key figures in the story of Christ's birth. Kim Riemland weaves the ancient and the new in this visit with a modern day shepherd.


Announcer: "Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. The Lord's angel stood before them, the Lord's glory shone around them."(Luke 2:8-9)

Featured in every Nativity scene, shepherds are an important part of the Christmas narrative, and they're still around in every state in the U.S.

Glen Fisher, Sheep Rancher: "I'm quite proud that even today all the Christians in the world know about shepherds and their sheep."

The shepherds were among the first to see the baby Jesus.

Announcer: "When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, 'Let's go right now to Bethlehem and see what's happened. Let's confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.' They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger." (Luke 2:15-16)

(Locator: Near Sonora, Texas)

In southwest Texas, Glen Fisher is a first generation sheep rancher but his wife's family has been in the business since the 1880's. It's a solitary life.

Glen Fisher: "I don't see any other people some days at all. My men are working someplace and I'm working another. The cows and the sheep, they don't talk back to me."

Glen tends his flock with a pickup truck and metal pens-- but he has the same dedication to the animals that Scripture writers described.

(Glen counts sheep) "14, 16,18."

Glen Fisher:"If one's missing, we'll go back and spend as much time looking for one as we did for a hundred."

Glen goes home each day, but some shepherds still live much as they did in Biblical times.

Glen Fisher: "Up in the mountains in the summertime, and one man will take care of 1,000 sheep with some dogs and horses.And he doesn't see anybody but once a week probably when his boss brings him food and salt for the sheep."

At the first Christmas, the shepherds were alone in the fields when the angels appeared to them. Glen can imagine the sea of stars they saw.

Glen Fisher:"Growing up, we had a star on top of the Christmas tree with a light in it. We had one ourselves. And then it wrecked and my wife said, 'We don't need,' it or something, and I said 'Yes we do.' That's something that's important to me to have a star."

Family looks at tree: "Was there a star the night Jesus was born?"

Shepherding is important to Glen's church family too. First United Methodist of Sonora was built in the 1920's, funded in part by the donation of 50 sheep from the community.

(Lamb) "Maaaa."

December is one of the busiest months on Glen's farm.

Glen Fisher: "This time of year when we're getting new babies at the ranch, I like to watch them. They like to run and play. It's the most satisfying part about ranching and that happens once a year is all."

A time of year called Advent when all await the gift of new life.

Announcer: "The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told." (Luke 2:20)


Glen Fisher is the president of the American Sheep Industry Association, representing 82,000 sheep producers across the United States. You can contact Fisher through First
United Methodist Church of Sonora, Texas at 325-387-2466.

Also, see: Shepherd of today relates to nativity

This video was first posted on December 21, 2010.

For more videos like this, visit our Advent and Christmas page.

New media contact: Fran Walsh, 615-742-5458.

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