Just as the Old Testament is full of angels who are God's messengers to the human family, so is the Old Testament full of shepherds: Abraham, Jacob, Moses, to name a few.
One very famous shepherd was King David. David was the youngest of eight brothers. When he was a young boy he tended the family's sheep and killed a very threatening warrior named Goliath by using a slingshot. David had mastered the use of the slingshot by protecting the sheep from the wolves which terrorized them. David trusted that God would give him the courage to use this skill to defeat Goliath, an enemy of the Chosen People of God, and God did!
David had a heart that was like the heart of God. God loved David very much for this and chose David to become the king of the Israelites. David was now to shepherd a kingdom not simply a flock of sheep. He was not a perfect man, but he was a very good ruler, and God rewarded him with a very special promise.
God promised King David that the Savior that the Chosen People of Israel were waiting for would be born from his family line. (2 Samuel 7:12 & 13) The young shepherd boy and now the triumphant king of Israel would be the favored ancestor of the Savior. Between the Shepherd/King's death, 970 B.C. and the birth of the Savior many shepherds waited for the fulfillment of God's promise.
Just as the many shepherds waited for God's promise to be fulfilled, so we are waiting now for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. This is the second week of Advent. We have only two more weeks after this one before Christmas.
Shepherds use staffs to guide sheep when they are driving them from one location to another. The staff is a symbol of guidance and for a king or a bishop the staff also represents divine protection. This week we are going to make, bake, and decorate some staff cookies. We will retell the story of David the brave shepherd, born in Bethlehem, who slew Goliath, became king, and received God's promise that from his family line the long-awaited Savior would be born. At the end of this post, there will be a few books that you can share with children. Most focus on the David/Goliath story and do not include God's great promise to David. You will have to tell them about it yourself.
Sugar Cookie Recipe for the Second Week of Advent
This recipe is taken from the sprinklebakes blog which I am linking here. https://www.sprinklebakes.com/2018/12/flowers-of-scotland-sugar-cookies.html The recipe has the measurements in the metric system, also, for those who use that system. The oven temperature would be 177 degrees celsius for the 350 degrees F. used in the U.S. I have used this recipe many times and it makes an excellent sugar cookie. These cookies are frosted with ready-made frosting but I am linking a frosting that I often use when making my own. https://www.hersheyland.com/recipes/perfectly-chocolate-chocolate-frosting.html All but one staff have sprinkles of one kind or another. Use a large candy cane cookie cutter for the staff. You can cut the shape out from the rolled dough if you don't have the candy cane cutter. Make it big for small children; otherwise the staff breaks in two quite easily while decorating. Even for Grandmother!
|Shepherds' Staff Cookies w/out icing|
|Shepherds' Staff Cookies frosted and decorated|
The Shepherd's Prayer composed by King David. I am sure you will recognize it.
The LORD is my shepherd;*
there is nothing I lack.a
to still waters he leads me;
He guides me along right paths*
for the sake of his name.
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff comfort me.
in front of my enemies;*
my cup overflows.e
all the days of my life;
I will dwell in the house of the LORDf
for endless days.
From the USCCB.org
Or a very short prayer from one of King David's Psalms:
139 Search me God and know my heart. Amen