NOTE: This narrative is based in scripture and imagined by fiction. It’s the Christmas story told by those closest to the event, read accordingly. Thanks.
The Voices of Christmas
I work for a stone mason but he doesn’t just quarry stone. He is a builder, he builds houses, store rooms, small buildings and occasionally, a synagogue. Some call him a carpenter, but there are few trees so there is little wood with which to build things.
Actually, I am an apprentice: a learner, a helper and sometimes a builder. But mostly I do whatever he asks and provide whatever he needs, and stop my mouth before asking questions like,
“When do I get to hammer something?”
I’m not criticizing, for he started as an apprentice as did the one he apprenticed for, and so on. It’s a time honored tradition for training tradesmen.
It’s also what father’s do for their sons. I apprentice for a highly skilled man named Yacob. He is my father. My name is Yosef and I have been learning for years. My hands are calloused, my skin is rough, and my muscles are strong for building with stone requires much effort.
Something else fathers do is find a suitable bride for their sons. Suitable means a girl of the highest standards, with an honorable reputation and a Godly character. This my father did for me and I am betrothed to Miriam. She was set apart for me and I for her. Like the apprenticeship, our way of marriage is a time honored tradition.
Today is the third day of our journey. It’s been slow for she is late in her time of pregnancy. I won’t explain how she is with child and yet, we have not come together in the fullness of marriage.
It’s okay, hardly anyone believes me either.
I could not have known that she would give birth to the Lord’s anointed. The words still catch in my throat for who am I to be father to Yeshua? But it matters not, for I must honor God. Today we reach Bethlehem and tomorrow I will register for the Roman census, and then we will travel home to Nazareth.
I have been in constant prayer that God will provide us with good lodging. Miriam is fearless and her resolve is strong. She believes, as a servant of God, that whatever he wills is what will happen. But frankly, I’m worried.
Finally, I see Bethlehem in the near distance. We will find lodging with warm food and a good bed for Miriam. Her time of pregnancy is ending, and the baby is coming.
I inquire at a house known for assisting travelers but due to the census they are full. We find an inn but they are also full. Fearing the worst, I enter the only place left, but sadly get the same result. I turn to leave when he says, “Young man, I’m sorry we don’t have a room for you. But If you will accept it, you can stay in the stable. It’s partially covered and has fresh hay. There are some camels and donkeys but I will make a small fire which will keep them from you and keep you warm. We have plenty of blankets and of course, some good food and fresh water. What do you think”?
I went out to Miriam and explained as best as I could. My heart was burdened and heavy. I am responsible for her. I am a builder of buildings and yet, all I could offer was an animal’s stable. I felt ashamed.
But Miriam smiled and said, “Yosef, it’s all right, we will be warm and have food and we will be together and the Lord will be with us. Now, would you please help me down.”
Later that evening she went into labor, I had hoped it wouldn’t happen here in this place. But again, with her customary faith and courage she said,
“Yosef, our son will soon be born, please cut one of the blankets into strips so we have something to wrap him with. And then fold some blankets and place them in the manger so he will have a place to sleep.”
The Son of God is about to come into the world.
It will be a Merry birth of Christ!