"And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb." - Luke 2: 7-21
The shepherds were abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
There were where they were supposed to be.
Are you at work when you are scheduled?
Do you get to school on time?
Are you late to practice?
Do you call off work "just because?"
Do you abide in your parents, siblings, family, teachers, coaches?
The shepherds were continuing without change; enduring; steadfast. They had an abiding faith.
Do you have any idea how many blessings you miss when you called off of work, missed a practice or were late to a practice because you just didn't feel like getting up?
Do you have any idea how you missed being a blessing to someone because of those same reasons?
Do you have any idea the coach was going to insert you into the starting lineup that day in practice - the same practice you blew off?
We make way too many excuses for not doing things.
Haste back in the day meant when I heard my dad whistle and I was not on my way home with swiftness, some mother would come out of the house with quickness and tell me that I best hurry home before my butt rapidly became more and more sore.
When coaches move from drill to drill, they are looking to see which kids do so with haste and to see which kids do so with waste.
They are also looking to see how a kid performs in a drill, with fleetness or with sluggishness.
What the coach calls your name, how fast do you get off the bench?
The shepherds "came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger."
Imagine if they were in today's world and, you know, like, moved when they, you know, like, got to it.
Imagine the blessings they would have missed?
Missed any blessings lately?
Reports say the the 22-year-old swerved to avoid a buzzard and veered head-on into the path of an 18-wheeler.
Villavisencio, who was heading home at the time of the crash, spent part of that fateful day with teammates delivering gifts to families at a local shelter.
"His teammates, coaches and fellow students will remember him as someone who would do anything for anybody. I will always remember him as always offering me a smile whenever we talked and would always answer my questions with a simple, 'yes, coach' or 'no, coach,'" former Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman said the night of the crash. "He was one of the most respectful and high character players I have ever coached. It was an honor and privilege to have known him, and to have coached him."
How do you handle the death of a teammate, a friend?
How do you handle not getting along with a teammate?
How do you handle your coach telling you the truth?
How do you handle a bad game, a bad call, a bad shot?
How do you handle hitting the game-winning shot?
How do you handle missing the game-winning shot?
How do you handle sitting the bench?
How do you handle your parents telling you to quit the team because you are too good to be sitting on the bench?
We have all had our lives change in some way when we received that terrible phone call whether it was from mom or dad or sister or brother or a family member or a friend about mom or dad or sister or brother or a family member or a friend.
It teaches kids how to be not just teammates, but good teammates, and also shows them what bad teammates look like and act.
It teaches kids that being the 12th member of a team is better than being the last one cut.
It teaches kids how to sacrifice for one another.
It teaches kids that failing is not the end of the world.
It teaches kids the value of a team concept over an individual spotlight.
It teaches kids that teammates help everyone get better.
It teaches kids that it's OK to step away from themselves and push their bodies further than they thought possible.
It teaches kids the team concept only works because individuals stop being selfish.
What a great way to refuel the spirit.
"Your attitude is like the aroma of your heart. If you heart's not right, it means your attitude stinks." - Grant Taylor, Facing The Giants.
(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)