Clean, crisp stars brighter than a thousand torches shone their brilliance triumphantly. Their presence set aflame the inky night that had fallen across the eastern sky.
As usual, the heavenly bodies brought the evening to life. Smells and sounds of crunching hay and dirt filled the noses of any travelling on the roads, which at that time of evening was very few.
Anyone walking the dusty roads would notice the stillness but vibrancy that defined the evening. If the innkeeper had looked up at the sky that night he would have noticed how the skies appeared to be alive, lit by the joy of a Heavenly Father.
“…lit by the joy of a Heavenly Father.”
If one were to look to the right of the road they would surely see the small cave carved roughly into a grassy hill. The entrance to this cave was wide and dark. The dull but warm flicker of one candle bounced off the walls of the wooden stalls and splashes of hay that lay across the hard floor.
There were two people within the cave, a young woman and a man. In the mans’ large hand lay a tiny baby who was Savior of the world but not known to the world. A slight breeze blew in through the cave’s opening and touched the tiny babies’ fresh, quivering skin. The child’s small, dark eyes squinted as he began to squirm against Yosef.
Dissatisfied with his lack of comfort the child let out a strong wailing sound. The mans’ eyes widened and remained on the babe while reaching for the bundle of swaddling cloth that lay in the hay beside his wife. The man named Yosef picked the couple pieces of hay that have stuck to the cloth before passing the sheet to his wife. She caught his hand and stared into her husbands’ eyes. They were filled with alarm. It was a panic Miriam had noticed since the beginning of their long journey. The panic had been present when her birthing pains became more frequent and now because he could not interpret the needs of their newborn the panic reappeared.
“It’s going to be okay Yossef. We have made it here, where we needed to be. You have done well.” The man smiled gently at his wife then quickly looked down at the newborn.
“As have you Miriam.” Yossef’s large thumb caressed his sons’ tender face. Something so wonderful had come from his wife’s ability to trust Elohim.
“Something so wonderful had come from his wife’s ability to trust Elohim.”
As Yosef continued to stare at the baby any sign of worry melted from his expression. A large smile began to cover his lips. This child was the Most High Creator. That night a great honour had come to his household. The reality of who this child was moved something deep within his being. After a few moments of dwelling on the baby’s’ identity the carpenter felt compelled to speak.
“Though the road has been difficult we thank you for this high calling Elohim. We thank you. We thank you greatly.”
For some reason I have been left me with the idea that family and holidays were meant to emanate perfection. Over the years of maturing in my relationship with God and others I have seen that ain’t happening anytime soon. There are no perfect families because there are no perfect people! Revelation!
Unfortunately the actions of our imperfect family can cause wounds deep within us, especially during the holiday season. In light of this it is good to be reminded of the reality of that night in Bethlehem. Things were not perfect. By no means were they pristine. Yossef and Miriam (Joseph and Mary) would have suffered hardship not only due to the circumstances regarding Yehoshua’s conception but also as they travelled over very difficult terrain.
The two of them would have been tired, hungry and most likely in pain as they made their way to Bethlehem that night but they knew they had a mission. Do we ever feel this way when we spend time with people who exhaust us or deal with familial politics?
I write this as a reminder to remember what the mission is. That is to bring Jesus’s love and the reality of His life into the situation, no matter how difficult or how much of a donkey someone is.
This is my mission; I pray for strength within you to make it yours as well.