The Nativity - Part Four
"Hello," she whispered.
"They are your friends you told us about?" Isaiah asked.
"Well yes, yes they are," said Sean. He was having a hard time taking this in.
Ezekiel stepped forward. "We are shepherds, well at least most of us are, and we were looking after our sheep when an angel appeared. He said that the Messiah has been born and that we will find him in a manger. And then there were millions of angels, all praising God. After they left, we hurried to the nearest stable, and we found you."
Mary smiled. "Come see." They stepped forward. A tiny bundle lay in the hay. Little eyes opened to see the strangers looking down. The eyes seemed to say, "I love you. I am here because I love you. You will understand later on, but for now remember that I love you." Dom wiped tears from his eyes, as they sank to their knees.
"He is the One you're looking for," said Joseph. The shepherds bowed low before the manger. "This is God," Billy thought. His forehead touched the hay floor. The others must have had the same thoughts because they had bowed low too.
For a little while, they were able to play with the Baby a little. If one of them held a finger in front of His face, a little hand would reach up and grab hold of it. But since He had just been born, the Baby slept a lot. "So peaceful," Sean thought. "Heavenly peace."
Isaiah stood up. "We've got to tell everyone what we have seen!" Benjamin and Ezekiel followed him. "...they spred the word concerning what had been told them about this Child and all who heard it were amazed..."
"What happened to you after we were separated?" Sean asked.
"We went to Bethlehem's three inns. Each sent us to another one," Joseph said. "I nearly panicked when the third innkeeper told us that he had no room. Levi, I think his name was. But he offered us this stable and we accepted. Mary was already in labor, and pretty soon after we were settled in, she gave birth. A healthy baby boy, just like the angel said."
"An angel came to you too!" Dom exclaimed.
"He came to me first," said Mary "I had never seen angel before and didn't know what he wanted. He said, 'Greetings, you who are highly favored. The Lord is with you.' It is a wonderful greeting, but I was terrified. Then he said, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David, and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end.' I still did not quite understand. You see, I was at that time only engaged to Joseph and I had never lain with someone. I asked, 'How will this be since I am a virgin?' The angel said, 'The Holy Spririt will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.' Then he said, 'Even Elisabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.' I replied, 'I am the Lord's servant. May it be to me as you have said.' And he was gone."
"Soon after that she went to visit her cousin and was gone for three months. Many pondered at what exactly Elisabeth had done to be with child. She and her husband, Zechariah, were far past their child bearing years," Joseph said. "When Mary came back, she tried to explain to me about the Child. I must admit I did not listen and nearly canceled the wedding. Even though I thought she was unfaithful, I didn't want to expose her to public disgrace; I still loved her. You see, according to Moses' Law, if a girl is found to be unfaithful, she and her lover are to be taken outside the city and stoned to death. I couldn't let that happen. So I made a plan to divorce her quietly. But then that night the same angel came to me in a dream. He said, 'Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give Him the name Jesus* because He will save His people from their sins.' When I woke up, I remembered the prophecy made by Isaiah, 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they shall call Him Immanuel.' So we were married soon after that. Then the tax came and we traveled here."
A man the actors guessed to be Levi ran inside the stable. He was excited. "Magi! They want to see the Baby."
Joseph stood up. "Let them in."
Three men, as old as Christopher Lee with beards as long as Saruman's walked in. They were richly dressed. The actors moved out of the way, so the Magi could see the Baby.
"We have come to honor the Child," one said. "We are Magi from Bablyon. My name is Melchior, this is Caspar, and this is Balthazar." As Melchior said their names, Caspar and Balthazar bowed their heads.
"We have studied the stars for many years," continued Caspar. "We noticed a new star that was quite interesting;it was bigger and brighter than the others. A new star means a new king. We decided to investigate. We followed it and it led us here."
"We brought gifts for the new king," said Balthazar.
"Come see," Mary said again. The Magi fell on their knees and worshiped him. They drew out their gifts and presented them to the manger, one at a time.
"Gold," said Melchior. "To crown a new King."
"Frankincense," said Caspar. "It owns diety and delights the Most High."
"Myrrh," said Balthazar. "The bitterest of them all."
They bowed down again.
"It is time for us to leave. We have to take another road than planned and it will take longer to get to our homehand than expected," Melchior said. They blessed the Child and His parents and left. Balthazar looked at the acors as they went out.
"See me as soon as you leave," he whispered
Mary took the Baby in her arms and cradled him. Billy watched the scene with moist eyes. A song came to his head and he started to sing softly:
"What Child is this, Who laid to rest, This, this is Christ the King, So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh, Raise, raise the song on high,
On Mary's lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepards watch are keeping?
Whom shepards guard and angels sing:
Haste, haste to bring him laud
The Babe, the Son of Mary!
Come peasant, king, to own Him,
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.
The virgin sings her lullaby:
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe the Son of Mary!
This, this is Christ the King,
So bring Him incense, gold, and myrrh,
Raise, raise the song on high,
Dom's eyes grew big. "Nativity!" He whispered. The others realized the same thing.
"I think it's time for us to go," Sean said.
"I wish you would stay," said Mary.
"I'm sorry, but we really have to go," said Elijah. "There's someone we have to see."
"Well, we enjoyed traveling with you," said Joseph. "I hope we meet again."
"We do the same." They embraced Joseph and Mary. Before they left, each of them touched the Baby's cheek. He looked up at them. His eyes seemed to say, "Goodbye for now. We will meet again."
As they exited the stable, Balthazar walked up to them. He handed a scroll to Elijah.
"As we entered Bethlehem, a man came to me. He told me there would be four young men where the star landed. He gave me this scroll and told me to give it to you." Balthazar bowed. "I don't know who you are except that you are highly esteemed in your homelands. But the man can help you more than me. Farewell." He mounted his camel and rode off to join the others.
They stood there pondering Balthazar's strange message. Elijah opened the scroll. It read, "Walk forward fifty pases. Then turn right and walk thirty paces." They did so. A man was waiting for them. His robes were pure white.
"Welcome," he said. "I am Gabriel, but there is no need of introductions for we have already met."
"The angel that came to us while we were with the shepards!" Sean exclaimed.
"Yes Sean. I'm also the one that came to Mary and Joseph. Now shall we trade that scroll for something that will help you?" Elijah handed him a scroll and Gabriel gave him a golden star.
"It's lovely," Billy whispered.
"Yes but it has more uses than just to be lovely to look at, William. Whenever you see this, you will remember your little journey to the manger. I will not say this will be the last time you come to ancient Israel, either. For as the song will say, 'Christ has come to save.' And now there is singing and rejoicing and praising unto God to be done." And he was gone.
The actors stared at the star for a moment. Then the world started to fade. A jerk and they were back in Dom's living room.
Sean massaged his forehead. "I think I've gone to sleep on you, Dom."
"It's all right. I must have too 'cause I had the strangest dream."
"Did you have a strange dream too?" asked Billy.
"Yeah. What about you, Sean?" He nodded.
"Me too," said Elijah.
"Hey what's that on my tree?" They got up to look at the new ornament. It was a golden star in view so all could see. Dom took it off the tree and cadled it gently in his hand. They all looked up at the ceiling.
"Elijah," Dom said shakily. "Go get my Bible and turn to Luke."
*Jesus means, "Jehovah is salvation."
All quotes from the Bible are from NIV
"Christ has come to save" is a line from In Dulci Jubilo
As you know, I do not intend to profit from this story. It's not about me but for Him (4HIM is one of my favorite bands)
I do plan on doing a sequel for Easter.