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Anam sat at the family gathering wishing he could be more cheerful, but the occasion only served to remind him, once again, that he did not fit in. His father, Micah, sat at the head of the table. Anam noticed a gleam in his eye as Micah looked with pride upon his large family assembled there. They were a handsome lot. His sons had grown tall and strong. All but the youngest had taken wives, who were with them, along with his many grandchildren.
They were celebrating because Anam’s younger brother, sixteen-year-old John, was now engaged to be married too. Micah had arranged the marriage with a business associate of his. The union of his son with the man’s fourteen-year-old daughter would enlarge the profits of both merchants.
That left Anam as the only single man at the table, though he was nearly thirty, a realization that made him feel more out of place than usual. He was not related to the others by blood, but Micah’s sons treated him like a brother. And Micah had always cared for him like one of his own. Yet this event reminded him once again of the sad fact that he did not really belong.
The eldest son, Aaron, turned to his white-bearded father. “Are you going to bestow a blessing upon the boy?” He winked at his youngest brother. “He is to be married soon, so he will need all the help he can get!”
The brothers roared with laughter. Their wives rolled their eyes and smiled demurely, the way women were expected to. The children giggled along with the adults, though they didn’t understand the joke. Anam didn’t think it was very funny, but he loved hearing the laughter of children. They always seemed to have such light hearts that laughter came naturally for them. In a way he was envious of them.
Micah stood from his position at the head of the table. His beloved wife, Miriam, had died four years earlier, and he insisted that her seat next to his remain vacant as a permanent tribute and reminder of her life. His sons had urged him to remarry, but the old man had no interest in any other woman. The patriarch fixed his gaze upon his family, then raised his eyes toward heaven. “We beseech ye, oh Yahweh, maker of heaven and earth, to bestow thy blessings upon John. Bless the union he will enter into with the fruit of children and the goodness of heaven.”
They all bowed their heads and recited a solemn “Amen” in perfect unison.
The women went to work at once, carrying heaping platters of food to the large wooden table. The scent of fresh-baked bread and roasted meats filled the air. Micah had ordered the fatted calf slaughtered, and they feasted on it along with lamb, cooked vegetables, bread, and wine.
Anam was pleased that his brother would now be married and start a family. He wished John nothing but happiness. But his mood was gloomy as he ate quietly and kept to himself, in stark contrast to the brothers, who were their usual boisterous selves. Jacob, the second-oldest brother, finished his third glass of wine and poured himself another. His wife whispered something to him. Jacob shook his head dismissively, then turned toward Anam. “You are the luckiest amongst us, my good man.”
Confused, Anam quietly said, “How do you mean?”
“You have no wife nagging you about how much you drink!” He slapped Anam on the back as his brothers laughed.
“I’ll drink to that, “ Aaron said.
From across the table, Anam caught the look on his compassionate father’s face, as Micah locked eyes with his adopted son. The old man’s deep wrinkles around his eyes spoke volumes. He obviously felt Anam’s pain, but would not embarrass him by addressing it here at the table. It helped Anam to get through the rest of the dinner without punching one of his brothers. They had no idea that their good-natured barbs were so hurtful.
After dinner, Anam slipped away from the family and wandered out into the fields. The sun was setting behind the hills in the distance. He pulled his cloak more tightly around his neck against the evening chill. “You are the living God,” he said aloud into the gathering darkness. “I need guidance. This cannot be my lot for the rest of my life. There must be more. Please show me.”
He listened to the wind as it softly fluttered among the trees. A faint whisper came to his ear. Whether or not it was audible, he could not tell. Yet it was a voice…and it told him the time had come to go to Micah, his father, and pour out his heart.
Back to The Shepherds' Prayer (Hardcover)
A young man with no name, orphaned as a baby, sets off to find out the truth about the circumstances of his birth, the fate of his parents, and his heritage. Having been raised in a culture where bloodlines mean everything, he seems forever condemned to live as an outsider on the fringes of society.
His only clue is a cryptic message on a lambskin blanket about a child born in a stable in Bethlehem, near where his adopted father had rescued him as a baby so long ago.
The townspeople offer no help, but later he seeks out a band of shepherds who, it's said, are evildoers who caused a terrible massacre.
Can these rough herdsmen lead him to the truth he is seeking? Burying his fear, he sets out to find them. He is determined to learn the truth. What really happened in that stable thirty years earlier?
The answers will change his life forever ... and maybe yours.
Back to The Shepherds' Prayer (Hardcover)
Author description goes here...
Product Type Media Books
This "story" banishes any thought of ever judging others....from the past or now....Could it have been...? What if....? We can never know the problems, trials and joys of others without digging deeper. I have passed this book within the realm of my friends and they all found themselves intrigued by the "what ifs". Excellent.
Inspiring Read During Advent
Inspirational Christian fiction can cause the human mind to be re-energized and refocused on the spiritual realm beyond oneâ€™s earthly eyesight. Such is indeed the case with The Shepherdsâ€™ Prayer by Richard M. Barry. This book, dealing with the birth of Christ and King Herodâ€™s attempt at murdering the Savior as an infant, is an easy read for all ages. It is a story that reinforces the tenets of the Christian faith, while at the same time provides the reader with some interesting plot twist and emotional struggle.
As the main character, Anam, searches for clues to his past and its relation to the virgin birth of the Messiah, I found myself rooting for him to succeed.
I think it is a blessing that so much wise and spiritual guidance is placed in such a short manuscript. In todayâ€™s busy world, a book such as The Shepherdsâ€™ Prayer will be read by more individuals, maybe even many who have never read such material.
I just finished the book and even though I have heard this story many times over the years this book made me feel like I was there during the whole event. This is a book I will read many times. Thanks you so much.
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