Saturday, December 4, 2010

Shepherd's Night


"And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night"

Plan to spend an evening with your family as though you were humble shepherds on that wondrous night when an angel of the Lord appeared with glad tidings.

Begin the evening with a hearty dinner of "Shepherd's Pie", or eat on the floor on a blanket a more humble fare as the shepherd's may have had with them such as pita bread and cheese. Spend this evening by candlelight.

Read from the scripture the part they played in the birth of Christ. Sing "As Shepherds Watched their Flocks by Night". Have everyone dress as shepherds. Act out their story.

Read the prophecy from Alma 13:26 and discuss how these were not just ordinary shepherds, they were "just and holy" and prepared. How can we make ourselves just and holy? How can we prepare our hearts?

The shepherds went with haste to the Christ child. Do we seek out, are we urgent about finding things that bring us closer to Christ? What brings us closer to Him? I love that phrase "with haste".

When they had seen the babe (Luke 2:17) they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. How do we share our testimony of the Savior? Do we share our love of the Savior with our family? Do we love Him enough to try to be like Him? Do we live our testimony? How can we make "known abroad" our tender feelings about Him this Christmas season?

Make Shepherd Cane cookies. You could already have the dough ready and let each person make their own cane.

Shepherd Cane Cookies

1 C butter
1 C powdered sugar
1 egg
1 t peppermint extract
1 t vanilla extract
2 1/2 C flour
1 t salt
1/2 t red food coloring

Mix together butter, sugar, egg and extracts thoroughly. Stir in flour and salt. Divide dough in half. Blend red coloring into one half of the dough. Cover the two pieces of dough and refrigerate.

To bake:
preheat oven to 350. for each cookie, roll 1 t of dough from each half back and forth on a lightly floured surface into 4 inch rope. Place 1 red and 1 white rope side by side. Press together lightly at top and twist. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and turn down top to form the crook of the cane.

Bake 9 minutes. Watch closely as they have a tendency to brown quickly. Cool on racks.

Other ideas for Shepherd Night:

For young children (or not so young "children" (I like to sing this song) sing "The Itsy Bitsy Shepherd" with actions, found by clicking on Music on the side bar to the right on this site.

Families with young children could make construction paper sheep with cotton balls glued on.

"Find the Lost Sheep" game could be played where a "sheep" hides somewhere in the house and the shepherds try to find him. The little lost sheep could cry "baa" until found.

A small lamb from a nativity set could be hidden in the room, and the children find him and then take turns hiding him again.

The children could sleep that night as shepherd's slept, on the ground. It is fun to have a night of sleeping near the Christmas tree.

There are so many lessons to be learned from those wonderful shepherds of long ago.

"And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds".


Keri Oke said...

I came across your website through Google. I am LDS as well and have 3 little boys and our 4th due this month of dec. My oldest made a request that we should take more time this holiday season to think more of our Savior and make our Christmas more Christ Centered. I am so grateful to have run into your website. I am really excited to do the sheppards pie and evening activity. I think my boys would love that. very clever ideas. Its a blessing to have run into you. thanks for putting forth the effort in inspiring others to make Christmas more Christ Centered. What a wonderful idea. thanks again. Ill be checking in more often in these next couple of weeks.

Charis said...

Sarah, I am such a whimp. . . I love your site. I use it every year. and I always check back to make sure I remembered everything for shepherds night and stuff. . . I am so silly. nonetheless, I am once again checking for the candy cane recipe and making sure I have everything ready for our christmas eve tradition of shepherds night and bawling. . . oh the wonders of pregnancy. Kendell was so sad your boys wont be at Christmas this year.

Carina said...

What wonderful ideas! I'm really excited to start some of these traditions with my family this year. Thank you!

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