Another Christmas, another disappointment.

Dwayne Faber is a writer, speaker and dairy farmer. He and his family operate farms in Oregon. To...

Every year I ask for a John Deere 7800. Given today's new prices, it’s a pretty reasonable request – a little smaller, pre DEF. I’ve been a good boy.

To be perfectly frank, I used to be a bit of a scrooge around Christmastime. The happy carols, the consumerism, the 15 pounds from eating too many cookies. Over the years, however, I’ve grown to love it. Part of the joy is seeing my kids get excited about Christmas: The excitement they share in their upcoming Christmas concerts, the joy they get when they load up in the car with their hot chocolate and blankets to go drive around looking at Christmas lights. Of course, they get excited about presents. For me, it's the special moments like watching the greatest Christmas movie of all time, “Die Hard.”

I’ve been reflecting on this article for a while, on Christmas and how to sum up my thoughts.

My faith in Jesus Christ starts with the Christmas story. Ironically, the line of this story starts with farmers, those who tend the land and care for animals. Our introduction to Jesus was in a manger in a stable. My Savior chose not to be born in a palace, surrounded by luxury and glamour, but among the stench of livestock. This Savior was not greeted by the upper echelons of society, but rather by a group of grizzled, smelly shepherds.


There is something foretelling and comforting in being born among shepherds. You see, shepherds have the gentleness to see when a mother sheep is ready to give birth and provide a proper bedded area for the newborn. A shepherd has the ability to assist in delivering a newborn. A shepherd will recognize a lamb that isn’t drinking milk and assist in feeding. A shepherd will corral the sheep that drift away, and a shepherd will rescue the sheep that falls into cracks and crevices. All this tenderness is not a sign of meekness, for a shepherd also has the fortitude to confront lions and coyotes with a slingshot and staff. A shepherd would sleep among the sheep and forego a life of comfort to care for his flock.

This life of nurturing and caring for the sheep, however, has an incredible juxtaposition. For after years of caring for the sheep, with years of blood, sweat and tears, a shepherd will butcher the sheep and use it for the sustenance of others. This is the analogy of my Savior. He was born among the care of shepherds, and in the end, he was killed.

While we celebrate the birth of Christ, His greatest contribution was actually at the end. Like the lamb being born in a stable, His greatest calling and His greatest end was not birth but death. This death was for the sustenance and eternal life of all people who call upon Him. This death was for those who have lived lives marred with imperfection, those who have coveted tractors, mistreated others and have not lived lives they are proud of at times.

Christ knew suffering and He knew pain. Christ knows our suffering, our struggle and our pain. When we pass the romanticized nativity scenes, we need to remember the death that gave us life.

It has been a difficult year in the dairy farming world. We have had economic issues, personal issues, health issues. Yet, for me as a believer, none of that matters in the scheme of my entire life. Because while I may have written the first chapters of my life, I know who has written the last chapters in my book. In the end, that is all that matters.