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Santa Claus. Beautifully wrapped gifts. Eating lots of good food with family and friends. For many, that's what Christmas is all about. But the author of a new book is determined to put the emphasis back where it belongs: on the birth of Jesus and how the Lord reinvigorates the lives of those who follow Him. His book, "The Shepherds' Prayer: A Christmas Novel," does just that. Author and publisher Richard Barry based his fictional tale on the real lives of a group of men we've all heard about but typically overlook -- the shepherds to whom the angel announced the birth of Jesus. Outside of our kid's school play, most of us have never given these important Biblical characters a second thought. Yet they were the first to hear the Good News. So what happened to them after that blessed first Christmas? Richard Barry's novel seeks to answer that thought-provoking question, and in a way that makes all of us appreciate the importance of Christ's Incarnation and how the seemingly insignificant birth of one baby in an obscure corner of the Roman Empire changed the world forever. In fact, Barry places the entire Christmas story into historical context in a way that few modern novels on the subject have done. He reminds us that there is a tragic component of the story, too -- the Slaughter of the Innocents. This was when the jealous King Herod ordered the murder of all the male babies in Bethlehem in an attempt to kill the Messiah, whom he saw as a rival. In "The Shepherds' Prayer," a young man who had been orphaned in this tragic massacre returns to Bethlehem thirty years later on a quest to discover his name and 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 until he discovers his true identity. His only clue is a cryptic message on a lambskin blanket about a child born in a stable in Bethlehem. Who is this mysterious child? And what could such a child have to do with his own birth and destiny? Through a providential encounter with a small band of shepherds, the young man comes to realize that his quest has little to do with his genes -- and everything to do with his soul. This is a book that has the potential to become a Christmas classic because it is one of those rare novels that the entire family can enjoy. It focuses our attention on the life-changing power of faith during this special time of the year. Yes, decorating our Christmas trees and waiti
For most of us, Christmas is a time of great joy, a warm and wonderful family celebration of the birth of our Savior. As we ponder the scene at the manger, however, I doubt many of us think about the impact that starry night had on those who were there. We don t often recall the slaughter of the innocents in Bethlehem and their parents cries of agony. We also probably don t consider the dramatically changed lives of those humble shepherds who heard the angel?'s good news and who heard the heavenly host singing, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, toward men of good will. How those words must have rung in their ears many years after. How that sight of the infant Messiah must have never left their imagination.These first believers are the subject of an imaginative Christmas novel by Richard M. Barry, titled The Shepherds Prayer. The book tells the story of an adopted son with a mysterious connection to the Messiah, who seeks the truth about his birth thirty years later. The man, Anam, travels to Bethlehem, where contempt is apparent on the faces of the townspeople when they hear the name Jesus. Anam also meets a band of shepherds who gather at Bethlehem each year to celebrate what they witnessed upon the birth of Christ.The Shepherds Prayer is a story that reminds us of two things. First, we remember that the humble will be lifted up and confound the wisdom of the wise. Secondly, Barry?'s novel reminds us of perhaps how we often react to the difficult and painful circumstances in our lives. The shepherds who first believed in Jesus likely faced oppression and were treated as outcasts. Like them, we must maintain our faith regardless of the world?'s reaction. And we must never water down the message of Christ?'s birth.
Buy The Shepherds' Prayer: A Christmas Novel by Richard M. Barry from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780976729051 & 0976729059
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