Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Reason for the Season of Christmas (12/04/08)
TITLE: A Holy Night
By Anna Wood
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The angel watched over the couple. Joseph, though tired, sought to comfort his young wife, “Just a bit more, Mary, and then you can rest.” It helped that she had the donkey to ride on, he thought. She was heavy with her first child. Hers, not theirs, Joseph pondered. Who would have dreamed of the turn of events that would enter his life? “Joseph, hurry, please,” Mary gasped. Worried, he stepped up the pace. There was much to think about. God, HaShem, meaning The Name, (no Jew would say HaShem’s real name) had spoken to him through an angel to say that He was sending His Son to be their Baby! Stifling a chuckle, Joseph spoke, “I can see the village, Mary. I am sorry for slowing down…I was thinking more deeply than I should be doing.” Mary smiled at him. At the outset of their engagement she wasn’t sure that she loved Joseph, but now he had her heart completely. “You are doing your best,” she said. What other man would not have turned her over to the elders to have her stoned? Or would have believed her story about an angel and a Baby and God? That her story was true was certain; that it all seemed crazy was obvious. She, who had never known a man, would soon be giving birth to the Son of God. And in just a few hours if her pain kept intensifying.
Trembling with amazement at the ways of God, the angel continued to observe the couple. Soon the Savior would be born. Born! God was to be born. The angel reflected on the first moment that he had laid eyes on his Creator. Oh, what a wonder that had been. He had never grown tired of worshipping Him and now to see Him in the form of a Baby! “How simply and wonderfully amazing God’s ways are,” the angel thought.
“HaShem, please, find us a place.” Joseph softly said, “Mary needs to rest.” How he loved her. It was no surprise that HaShem had chosen her for the mother of…Jesus. Yes, Jesus, that was to be the Baby’s name. It seemed to Joseph that HaShem would have chosen a grand name for His Son but, really, it made sense that He didn’t. HaShem had a way of choosing the commonplace things and people. “Like us,” Joseph thought.
Coming to one of Bethlehem's two inns, Joseph told Mary that he would be right back. He was. He laughed and said, “If we had stayed here, we might have been sleeping with the animals. The innkeeper, Yohanan, said that some are staying in his stable. That is no place for God’s Son to be born.”
Continuing on, they arrived at Bethlehem’s second inn. Joseph went inside to seek the innkeeper. “I am Simon bar Yoshua, innkeeper, how may I help you?” Upon hearing Joseph’s need, he answered, “You see the great crowds in our little town. Many, many people have returned for the census. Some have no home. You should have been here yesterday. Then I still had a room.” As Simon turned to leave, Joseph said, “Isn’t there something that you can do? Anything? We are to have a baby tonight.” Stopping and sighing, Simon thought of his own daughter who was also with child. “Come with me,” he said. Leading Joseph into the inn’s stable, he spread his hands, “This is all that I have to offer you.” Smiling, he added. “I have heard that Yohanan has rented out his own room so I, too, did so. If I had not already rented it, you would have had it tonight.” Looking around the stable, Joseph softly said, “I prayed, HaShem answered. I will take it. How much?” “It is not a room, just use it, my son, and may HaShem be with you. I will send you some water and some food. If you need anything else, please come for me. You shall have what you need.”
Returning to Mary, Joseph smiled gently and said, “Remember what I said about God’s Son being born in a stable?” Mary smiled, “HaShem be praised. He provided a place.” Wincing, she added, “It is almost time.”
The angel smiled. The holy night had begun. From what the Father had said, tonight was just the beginning. Tonight would be remembered forever. Some day the followers of the Son would refer to it as the reason for the season.
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