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Farmer John’s December 2011 Blog

Farmer John’s December 2011 Blog

14 Dec 2011

In this time of rapid change there are some things that seem to be totally outside of time.

The other day a farming friend of mine died. He farmed locally, and at one time kept a large number of cattlein a slatted floored shed. These were fed on waste bread from London. We supplied him with straw and his farming was in direct opposition to wildlife and conservation. I delivered a load of straw to him one day and asked him how he was. A long tirade of woes came out. The slurry was overflowing, his lorry had broken down and so he couldn’t collect his bread, he’d fallen off a straw stack and hurt his leg and narrowly escaped death from a wild heifer. “It’s a nightmare” he explained.“I wake up in the morning and it’s a nightmare”, and then quietly and more reflectively added “and it’s all my own fault”.

The Christmas story has an element of nightmare about it. A teenager becomes pregnant when that sort of thing was definitely not on if you weren’t married. Joseph husbands her even though he has no need, and to his shame. They are poor, homeless for the birth of their baby, so it happens in a shed for animals.

The recorded visitors are not mum and dad or friends, but shepherds. They probably smelt and were pretty dirty. They weren’t renowned for their honesty and wouldn’t have thrived at school. They were the ones who saw the heavenly host and who Luke uses as witnesses to the birth of Jesus, Emmanuel, the saviour of the world.

What a story! Is God, the author, not aware of real life? Are mistakes and difficulties beyond His understanding? Does He stand aside and observe when it seems like a nightmare. Or is Jesus Emmanuel, God with us in all circumstances?

If you would like to join us at the lambing shed on Christmas Eve that would be great. If you can’t, you can watch “Carols from Bucklebury” at around 10-30pm that evening on ITV, pre-recorded in the Thatched Barn. Don’t miss it! Like the Olympics, it won’t happen again for a long time!

John Bishop