Excerpt from Bozra, The Shepherd's Journey
Cradle to Cross Trilogy
Winner 2010 Best Compilation
Goliath, the most faithful sheepdog, came dragging back and licked my hand. They were all gone now. There was just me and Goliath and Aunt Anna who stayed to look after the little ones.
I went to the fields.
It was quiet and dark.
It was still and cold.
I looked to see if anyone had come back, but no one was there.
Just me and Goliath and the dark and the cold and the still.
I wondered if maybe I should have gone to Bethlehem.
I wondered if I might be missing something.
This morning seemed longer than most.
Goliath slept a lot. I did not.
Not even sit. Squatted back on my heels, that was all.
I made rounds and walked through the sheep. The ewes and rams and lambs were at complete peace.
Zeor was, too.
In just a few hours I felt all grown up.
I finished rounds with Goliath at my heels.
I imagined this was my flock, my sheep, my lambs.
I thought about having a family and boys and a herd and a dog all of my own.
“Someday I will be one of the shepherds of Bethlehem. King David was a shepherd, maybe at this very spot, I shall be, too.” I declared right out loud.
the most beautiful sight.
The sun was edging up over the hills just the other side of the valley full of our sheep. A heavy dew wet the grass and the herd. A mist drifted undisturbed.
Sunbeams began streaking through the trees on nearby hills.
Then the beams became sharp and straight. They split the fog and mist and made the dew on everything glisten and sparkle.
Goliath sat up perfectly still and stared, too.
The more I looked, the more there was to see.
The whole sky was all lit up.
The trees looked ablaze.
The colors were like a giant rainbow, only spread out flat along with the dew and filled the mist with a glow.
The clouds were full of color too. Sunbeams shot around and through them and streaked skyward in great bands of light that fanned out far and wide.
I looked hard, not wanting to miss anything.
Then it was over. A flock of doves darted through and it was over.
The sun went white hot.
The mist was gone and the fog was too.
The dew was drying, the flock was stirring, the chill was over. Goliath trotted off to do his business.
I knelt to thank Jehovah for this wonderful sight. I got back up and was suddenly aware of my stomach growling.
I wondered if my family was ever going to come back.
I wanted them to see I had done it.
The whole watch, and then some.
They would respect me, and be proud of me.
I was proud of me, but hungry too.
I forgot to pack anything, and knew better than to go to camp and leave the sheep.
They were back.
“Bozra, come, we have wonderful news.” It was Aaron, but I wanted to tell them my wonderful news.
“Bozra, come listen. We saw the child. He was beautiful, and born just at sunrise.” It was Benaial, but I wanted to tell about my sunrise.
“Bozra, we met Yoseph and Mary and little Yeshua.” It was Gahazi, but I wanted to tell them I had done the whole watch and then some.
“Bozra, come now,” Father said. “I’m very proud but you look very tired. Here, get some breakfast and we will tell you all about it, and about the angels.”
I was tired and hungry and now speechless. Angels? No one told me there would be angels.
I did miss something very special.
I wondered if this messiah they all seemed to be so happy about was kin to us.
“Who will watch the flock?” I said.
“Goliath,” someone answered as everyone laughed. True enough, Goliath would let us know if there was any danger.
They told me of their trip into town and the family from far away that had the baby.
They told me about the angels that visited them in the fields.
They were full of joy, and too much wine, as far as I could tell.
I ate and listened to their unbelievable stories, wondering if anyone appreciated what a fine job I did while they were away having so much fun.