In the search to simplify and keep the real meaning in prospective during the Christmas season, I have come to the raw reality I might always feel like I haven’t done enough or I have done to much..I am a bit better .. and no longer feel like my list is endless.
For some years now during this season I have read a book I have come to treasure, “The day Christ was born” by Jim Bishop. He wrote this over fifty years ago…a ageless story two thousand years old.
This year I have been reading another..”God came near ” by Max Lucado….so for this week I will share some of the contents with you as they have taken me beyond just hearing and seeing the Christmas story to awakening all my senses….smell…taste…touch…..
The town and terrain of Bethlehem have not changed..The road down to the Jordan Valley from Nazareth is a little smoother now, but it twists beside the same bank of the same river. The walls of Jerusalem have been moved in a little, especially on the south side, but the view of Mount Olives is the same, and Gethsemane still reposes at the base of the mountain. The marriage customs of the Jews of two thousand years ago are recorded. The manner of courtship, to which Mary and Joseph surely subscribed, is also known. The cave where the animals were sheltered near the inn at Bethlehem is still there. [Jim Bishop]
Most young women of the country were betrothed at thirteen and married at fourteen…Mary was fifteen…Joseph a carpenter apprenticed by his father at bar mitzvah and now nineteen years old.
Mary and Joseph left Nazareth after the Feast of Chanukah to make their way towards Bethlehem….by now they had traveled five days and Mary was becoming weary no longer noticing the chafe of the goatskin against her leg, nor the sway of the food bag on the side of the donkey.. .tired with fatigue,…… but when she concentrated on her baby she was about to have, the bathing, the feeding, the tender pressing of the tiny body against her…..her sickness went away..
Joseph, his feet tired and dirty from ninety miles of walking, pulled on the donkey to walk a little faster….each night, when the sun was gone and the road obscure, he would lead them off into a clearing where there was little brush and few insects. …..Joseph set the lamp on the ground and Mary removed her veil and brushed her long dark hair which hung to her waist. They slept in the open saving what little money they had for the day of the baby. [Jim Bishop]