Shepherds Abiding is a wondrous Christmas tale. It falls eighth of twelve books in the Mitford series by Jan Karon. Father Tim Kavanaugh is the local Episcopal priest and spiritual heart of the little Appalachian village of Mitford. He shepherds not only his own church, but really the whole village. The reader gets to know and love (or be infuriated by) all the characters in this stereotypical small town.
Christmas is approaching, and Father Tim has happened upon a long-neglected Nativity set. He has recently married quite late in life, and he has the desire to breathe new life into this once-beautiful assembly as a gift for his dear Cynthia. He’s always been a thinker, not one who works with his hands. Will he restore all the pieces properly or will he mess this up? Will he be able to keep the project a secret from Cynthia? Will he accomplish all the other Christmas tasks that fall to the life of a pastor?
I have read and dearly loved this whole series. The characters are quirky and loveable. The pace of the books is gentle – a lot of character development and not a lot of crises. But, there is just something truly compelling about Father Tim and his care for the characters of Mitford. I always leave Mitford a better person. Last December I reread Shepherds Abiding to prepare for Christmas. I hope you pick it up here at the library, or start at the beginning of the series with At Home in Mitford.