Illustration for The Banner by Anita Barghigiani.

Shepherds and Sheep

Shepherds are people who look after sheep. They provide food and water for their sheep and protect them from predators. Even without predators, sheep can get themselves into trouble. Sometimes a sheep will fall or get knocked over and get stuck on its back. Without a shepherd to help them up, they would die.

We read about many shepherds in the Bible. Rachel, Moses, and David all looked after sheep. But the most important shepherd of all is Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd, and we are his sheep. He leads us and looks after us and gave his life to save us.

Did You Know?

Sheep don’t have upper front teeth. Instead they have a thick area of gum called a dental pad. Sheep tear grass by pinching it between this pad and their lower teeth.

A sheep’s stomach has four parts. This special stomach allows the sheep to digest the grass and other plants that it eats.

Sheep’s eyes have rectangular pupils, so they can see almost all the way around (in front, beside, and behind).
Male sheep are called rams, females are called ewes, and babies are called lambs.

Working Sheep

When you think about sheep, you might think of soft, fleecy wool that gets spun into yarn. But sheep are also raised to provide meat and milk. Feta and Roquefort are just two kinds of cheeses made from sheep’s milk.

In vineyards, where grapes are grown, sheep are sometimes used to control weeds—by eating them! They also nibble off the lower leaves of the grape vines, making the grapes easier to harvest.

During World War I, President Woodrow Wilson kept a flock of sheep on the lawn of the White House. The sheep kept the grass “mowed,” and their wool was sold to raise money for the Red Cross. whitehousehistory.org/photos/sheep-graze-on-the-white-house-lawn

Make a Sheep—or a Whole Flock

With help from an adult, follow these online instructions to make a sheep ornament for your Christmas tree: tinyurl.com/bannersheep.

Make just one or make a whole flock, and remember this Christmas that Jesus came because he cares for us, his sheep.

About the Author

Rachel Lancashire is a freelance writer with an educational background in wildlife. She grew up in the Christian Reformed Church and currently attends Gilmour Memorial Baptist Church in Selwyn, Ont.

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