Posted 12-25-2003 at 04:49:05
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The following, submitted for your approval and edification:
The First Christmas
It was a chilly, clear, star-lit night as Joseph led the donkey up the road to Bethlehem. It was the home of his tribe, the home of David the king.
Mary rode upon the donkey. She did not feel well, her time being nearly upon her. Joseph knew he must find lodging soon, before the child arrived.
Joseph when from tavern to tavern. He could find no lodgings. At long last an innkeeper, who also had no lodgings, took pity on his wife, and offered his stable. Joseph led the donkey around the inn to the stable. He helped his wife down, then prepared a bed from the hay and straw he found in a crib. He also took some hay and laid it before the cattle, whilst he took their manger, filled it with fresh straw, and prepared a bed for the child.
Joseph went to fetch some water, and spied about for some rags. A short time later, Mary began to labor with the birth. The birth was quick, and the child uttered not a sound. Joseph bathed the child, while Mary cleansed herself from her labor. Joseph gave the child to Mary, who swaddled him in a sheet, and laid Him to rest in the manger Joseph had prepared.
As Mary rested, Joseph prepared some dinner from their meager provisions. After they had supped, they reclined and gazed dreamily at the babe, asleep in the straw. At that moment, some ragged men came up to the stable. Joseph and Mary feared they would be robbed. But the strangers asked to see the child. Joseph and Mary were puzzled by the request, but bade the strangers enter.
The strangers, shepherds, knelt and gazed in awe at the child. Finally one spoke, the eldest, and told how angels had greeted them. They were told that this child would be the salvation of Israel.
After a time the shepherds left. Joseph and Mary reclined, lost in thought.
Joseph wondered about the visitors. His wife and he had received heavenly visitors, and knew who their child was. But why were such lowly folk as these shepherds also told?
He indeed knew the child. He was born of the Lord, as the angel had spoken. What would it mean for their future? What protections must he provide, as the child grew? Would the Romans or others seek the life of this child? Joseph furrowed his brow as he brooded over his thoughts.
Mary too, was concerned. What would they teach Him, this child of the Most High? Would he learn her husbandís trade? How would who He was affect their life? How would they raise Him?
Mary looked up from her worry, and saw her husband smiling, and looking at her with a gleam in his eye. He glanced from Mary, to the child, and to Mary again. She smiled back at him. She understood what Joseph knew. They would trust in God in the future as they had in the past. Salvation had come to Israel-the Son of God was born!
Respectfully submitted, Brian-2N
Merry Christmas to all!