PETER DAY. Grandpa’s favourite Shepherd

This Christmas child won’t give you discounted goods … rather he’ll invite you to be humble, other-centred.

Grandpa, I’ve been thinking of late; the meaning of life: how do I know what is true?
Sure, I know right from wrong, but there’s something more, something deeper I wanna pursue.
I keep getting all these messages: Do this, do that; here’s what’ll satisfy.
But grandpa, I’m confused; to be honest, feel like I’m living a lie.

Ah, dear grandson, it’s a brave path you’re on; I’m proud; you’re starting to see;
It’s about time I told you about the Christmas child; the Good Shepherd from Galilee.
But before I tell you about him, what he did, and what he had to say;
You should be aware of some other shepherds, their false promises, and how they lead people astray.

There’s the Consumer Shepherd: it promises a lot: satisfaction, a better life;
Just think: ripped jeans with a label, a sexy car, and a multi-purpose knife!
Spend, spend, its Scriptures say; I’ll give you what you think you need;
I’ll fill those empty spaces, the dull ache, the hunger; mine’s a good feed.

There’s also the Celebrity Shepherd: what a beauty; follow it to fortune and fame.
It’ll ask you to sell your soul, but what a life: TV, an agent, and financial gain.
Youngsters, they flock; line-up for hours; anything to be the next big thing;
A parade of fragile fools conned by the promise of greatness – and lots of shiny bling.

Grandson, beware the Image Shepherd: trim, taut, terrific … Ah, the self-esteem;
Take-off eight kilos, get a tan, and go to places where only the right people are seen.Pretend to be someone you’re not, and make sure you look good as you do;
You’ll have heaps of friends, the latest gadgets, and your own plastic surgeon too.

What about the Role Model shepherd: usually dressed-up as a sportsman of note;
Loves to catch & kick a footy, drink a beer, and sure act the goat.
Up on a pedestal we place him: An autograph, please, we beseech.
A multi-million dollar pay packet, he’s only a youngster; wisdom well out of reach.

These are popular shepherds, mind you; no empty pews, churches filled to the brim;
Vibrant youth groups, healthy budgets, and catchy marketing to get you in.
And what preachers: a simple, catchy message: We’ll look after you;
Discounted goods, fame and fortune; we really care, it’s true.

Let me tell you, dear grandson, about that other Shepherd; the one born in a grubby manger;
The one who leads you down the road less traveled: the road of compassion, truth, and love of the stranger.
What a man, dear grandson; what a man this Christmas child proved to be;
Didn’t give a hoot about image, no pretending – God He was free.

He walked the earth; rolled in its mud, its blood, and its tears;
Visited places you shouldn’t be seen in and, in doing so, took away people’s fears.
He’s a bewdy, dear grandson; even dared to bring Good news to the poor.
Stood alongside battlers; had no time for zealots or bullies, that’s for sure.

This Christmas child won’t give you discounted goods, self-satisfaction, and entertainment all the way;
Rather, he’ll invite you to be humble, other-centred – and ensure the voiceless have their say.
Sure, sometimes, you might feel un-cool, irrelevant; even filled with doubt;
Hang-in there, dear grandson; I can assure, His way of love is really what it’s all about.

Peter Day is a Catholic Priest in Canberra.


John Laurence Menadue is the publisher of Pearls & Irritations. He has had a distinguished career both in the private sector and in the Public Service.

This entry was posted in Religion and Faith. Bookmark the permalink.

Please keep your comments short and sharp and avoid entering links. For questions regarding our comment system please click here.
(Please note that we are unable to post comments on your behalf.)