Herb’s Blog, Herbdate 22968 – 1045
Here’s the haps:
The next several days are filled with strangeness and wonder. Curiosity seekers, the humble and reverent, even those who scoffed and disbelieved the shepherds all come to see the new infant and all go away with at least that joy that seeing a newborn infant brings.
“Weren’t his eyes so clear and bright?”
“Thankfully he looks like the mother!”
“You know, I hear she had to deliver him in the stable.”
“There was no room anywhere. It was awful. I had to sleep on the floor and let Aunt Miriam have the bed.”
“They say the shepherds went crazy the other night; shouting in the streets about angels and a Savior, rousing people from their sleep.”
“Oh, yes, I am sure that Messiah would be born in a stable and laid in a manger. Ha-ha-ha.”
“Well, I suppose this census will bring out all manner of people.”
“Did you see how he looked at me as he held my finger? He smiled.”
“Gas. Good thing you handed him back when you did.”
“Did you notice the way the father watched everyone so intently, as though something might happen?”
“Yes, but the mother was a very sweet young girl. She just let us all hold him and talk to him and tickle him. Her husband is older and probably doesn’t know much about children – yet.”
You worry about the crowds of people who have come to see the child. Of course, it is normal, right, and good for people to be interested in a baby, especially one that would rouse shepherds from their flocks, which is, of course, extraordinary, but you fear something happening. Even though you know what you know, you feel an awesome and heavy responsibility for his well-being. What if the religious leaders were to get wind of it? You laugh within yourself. The religious leaders would never believe you, the shepherds, or anyone else that was not in their class.
As people start trickling out of the town, the innkeeper finds room for you and you begin inquiring about a more permanent place to stay and perhaps set up shop. It has barely been a week and the thronging multitude is mostly gone already. You must stay here for a while yet because Mary’s days of purification under the law must be accomplished and an offering made at the temple.
The naming and circumcision of the child should be a normal and routine thing on this, the eighth day, and really, for the most part, it is, until the rabbi asks, “What is the child’s name?” You choke up and begin to tremble and your eyes well up. You will be the first human being on Earth to say this name as it relates to this particular child. The Son of God Himself. God With Us. Emmanuel. Jehovah is become our salvation,
“His name shall be called Jesus.” You feel that same way you did those nine months ago when the angel appeared. There is power and peace and strength and hope as you say the name. You pull yourself together as Mary smiles at you.
The next day the groups from Nazareth and beyond, who had waited for the naming of the child, depart. You would only have to turn back to Jerusalem in a few days and Mary is gaining strength in her days of purification. The innkeeper’s family has proved invaluable in helping you; finding you work, helping you get a place to stay, introducing you around town, and just generally being helpful and kind. You get a little house nearby and feel blessed at all that is happening.