Nine Lessons and Carols: Sixth Lesson – Luke 2 vv 1, 3-7

21 12 2014

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.”

“And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”

Sermon Notes: “He restores my soul” – Psalm 23 v 3a

21 12 2014

From last Sunday evening’s communion service:

“He restores my soul” – Psalm 23 v 3a

We all know David as a shepherd, but in this Psalm he depicts himself as the sheep.

Some of his Psalms are full of joy, but not 42
“Why, my soul, are you downcast?
Why so disturbed within me?
Put your hope in God,
for I will yet praise him,
my Savior and my God.” – Psalm 42v11
We can each ask ourselves this.

A sheep on its back cannot get back on its feet. If a shepherd doesn’t find it quickly it will die. They get ‘downcast’ like this by finding a hollow in the field in which to lean, but as their centre of gravity shifts they roll over and are stuck. In the middle east they’d die within a few hours due to the heat. For a Ewe this obviously also puts her young at risk.


We sometimes think that God would be angry when we’ve fallen, but He has compassion on the lost and rejected. At times we all become downcast and in need of restoration. We’re most vulnerable to this when we think we have it together and are susceptible to pride.

The sheep is at danger in its comfortable place. There are times when the good Shepherd may move us on to somewhere more difficult.


If a sheep’s wool is too long then it is also at risk. Weighed down with wool it is far more susceptible to being cast down. It could also get dangerous things stuck in it. A shearing is not a pleasant experience for the sheep or the shearer, but it can be necessary. It is a relief for both parties when it is over, particularly the sheep having shed its thick coat if it is a hot day.


God may find things in our life He wants to strip away. “because the Lord disciplines those he loves” – Proverbs 3v12a. He knows exactly what He’s doing, he knows exactly how deep to go with the shears in the wool. He prunes us to grow new shoots if you want a different analogy.

Jesus chose to be cast down and die, to lay down His life for us. He was cast down when we were on our backs. He comes to restore the lost, broken and struggling.