A place of writing and reflection…
Reading of the Nativity story has become a common practice from year to year. Around this time, it’s easy to see pictures of it, or cartooned reproductions of the famous story. However, the Nativity Story is not just a story—it was real and involved real people, living real lives in both thought in action. You see its not just a kid story. There was danger, reputations at risk, and real lives severely impacted by this single event that changed the world ever since.
For the Christian, this is the beginning of God’s plan to redeem his ruined creation, man. Jewish and Christian literature unfold a story from the Fall of Adam and Eve of God making a way to return man to Himself as it was originally intended. Years and even generations later, and after much suffering, the Christ-child was born. But what if He had not been born at that time? Rather, what if God had reserved such an occasion for our day? How would that play out?
As we know, God arranged the Nativity to take place when it did, and not in our time. However, after listening to some students “Modern Parables”, I thought it would be interesting to put the famous story in our day to yet give us a new understanding—through our modern perspective—of the struggles of the day.
Your name is Joseph. You’re engaged to that really cute girl down the street, a few years younger than you. She’s a tad bit shorter too.
While you were away, she had a dream that she was pregnant—but the baby wasn’t yours. It wasn’t anybody’s. Some how or another this child was implanted by God.
But you have your doubts.
When she returned from an extended stay her cousin’s house, you were initially shocked by the tiny bump of her belly. What she told you left you speechless. For two days you couldn’t look at her—much less talk to her. I thought she…loved me? What was she thinking? What should I do…?
You do have a reputation at stake. Despite only being in your twenties, you’ve got quite the reputation as a master in construction—after all, you did get your skills from your old man. Of course your family has never been ‘rich’ but you have been pretty well respected. But now…what would the guys think?
“She’s movin’ around on you, man.”
No! You shake your head. It’s another sleepless night for you as you contemplate your actions. You could just break off the engagement. It would save the two of you a lot of trouble—and public embarrassment. Then again, that leaves her a single mother, fresh out of high school, and alone. Could you do that to her?
Your mind wonders back to when you use to tease her about her pigtails and scuffed dress shoes after you had pushed her in the mud. Some how or another you started thinking she was pretty cute. What brought that on? But alas the two of you had started talking and before the summer had ended you were engaged.
But now there was this mess. It feels like you’re staring into a bottomless pit. Should you take the plunge?
The next morning you awake from a dream. Though still vague in you mind, you know what you must do.
You find yourself later that day telling Mary, your fiance, and her parents that the wedding is still on. Mary thanks you with tear filled eyes, while her parents stare in disbelief. you know you’ll get ribbed about it at work later—and kiss that reputation good bye while you’re at it.
As the months pass, wedding plans are set in motion, while you carry on at your job. You try to ignore the sarcasm from the guys or the sudden silence that fills the room when they’ve been talking about you. Tired in both body and mind, you return home to Mary’s explanation of the plans made for a rather simple wedding. Simple—it’s just what you need right now.
At about the end of Mary’s eighth month you two finally tie the knot, but you still have to wait for the baby before you can really be a couple. It’s not easy, but then life’s not so bad after all.
She is a good cook, and it’s nice to have someone to actually come home to. Best of all she doesn’t fuss about washing your laundry when its stained with three types of dirt like your mom use to.
Then about her last month a letter arrives notifying you of your citizenship. The government is questioning it. You’re perfectly legal—you were born here in the states, but apparently your parents, who weren’t, never filed the paperwork.
Reluctantly you tell your wife. She gives you that same understandable look as she waits for you to fill her in on the news.
According to the paperwork, you have to temporarily leave the country, and return to that of your parents until the matter is resolved. Unfortunately for you, neither of you know a single soul there in Mexico, much less any relatives. Contacting them would surely be a piece of work.
Then again there is the matter of the baby. Mary is nearing her time to deliver, and she can barley stand to walk sometimes. Moving will not be easy for her.
Together, the two of you arrange to put the majority of your things in storage. You tried to set up a hotel for your stay but nothing works out. Frustrated after one call, you catch yourself about to slam the phone down in the manager’s ear.
Why is every hotel in the country full? Is there some kind of mass deportation? Who knows.
Still unsure of where you will stay, the two of you pack up the old beat up Bronco and hit the road for the long drive. Mary tried to sleep but can’t. She’s been having pains you’re secretly praying aren’t contractions. Because of this you have to stop often, at one point stopping at hospital just to make sure.
After the visit and paying the bill you glance back at your check book. How are we suppose to live on this…? Despite all the savings you’ve stashed back, this trip has nearly emptied your pockets.
Mary’s worried expression quickly makes you change your actions. She can’t be worrying about this. Not now.
Together, the two of you load up again, still hours away from the border. There the two of you must go through security. You’re asked the typical questions when Mary begins to break out in a sweat. She mumbles something you didn’t quite catch and ask her about it only after being cleared to pull off.
“It’s the baby…,” she mutters, breathing heavy.
cow! What else can go wrong?
Frantically you spend the next few hours driving and searching for a rest point, or better yet a doctor’s office. Finally at a gas station you’re directed to the nearest town with one, still several hours away. Looking at your wife, you know the two of you don’t have that kind of time.
Doctor hunting quickly turns into hotel searching. Place after place is full just as when you called only a weeks before.
After several places closed their doors on you, a manager glances at you, then quietly to your wife who sits waiting in the car.
“How far along is she,” the manager asks.
“Eh…any minute now,” you answer unsure yourself.
To your dismay the manager offers you and old storage house in the back his wife uses a small farm. With a sigh and a glance at the gas left in the Bronco you accept.
Moments later you’re helping Mary out of her seat and to the dirty little shack. Chickens scatter at your feet, their feathers flying about making you sneeze. No wonder you don’t like chicken.
Letting Mary rest against a wall, you pull down an old wooden frame leaning on the opposite side. Running to the car you pull out the blankets and sleeping bags you had been using and carry them back. You set Mary up with a makeshift bed. The manager’s wife, watching the commotion, comes to check things out just as your wife’s water breaks. Thankfully she offers to help while you wait outside pacing about.
After a long wait, you hear and infant’s cry and you’re almost instantly relieved. Moments later the manager’s wife notifies you of he birth of your baby boy. As you step back inside, there’s Mary resting, the baby tenderly bundled in her arms. You’re painfully reminded of both your dreams in regards to the Child.
As you ponder these things, there’s a knock at the door. Curious you answer.
There at the door stand a small group of ranch hands. Though their English is horrible, you can make out how they were told of the Child’s birth. Angels? A Star? Mary looks up at you rather puzzled, but you let the men inside, deciding they’re either crazy or this whole virgin birth thing is real. You find yourself staring in wonder as the men leave that night in celebration; worshipping and praising away.
Up in the sky hangs a strange star you had never noticed before.
Perhaps this is real…or if its a dream you’ll wake up soon. But it’s not.
The next day you wake up to the smell of animals and dust. Mary lays beside you, the baby sleeping quietly in her arms.
It’s hard to find jobs here but you work hard at whatever you can get, eventually saving up enough money for a small rental house. All the while you’re still waiting on your paper work to get approved to go back to the states.
Once, after a long day at work, you are greet by a rather odd set of strangers who pull up in best looking Cadillac you’ve ever seen. You blink again to make sure you’re not seeing things. Out step three very well dressed men in pressed suits and finely polished shoes.
They check the house address against their GPS they’ve been following since setting off on their long journey to see the Child. Nodding they agree and ask for permission to see the New Born. Still surprised, you agree.
Even more surprising are their gifts that they set before the Child. Instead of dropping off a package of diapers and formula, they brought with them gold, frankincense and myrrh. You stare puzzled at these as the men leave worship God just has the shepherds had the night of the Child’s birth. Looking toward Mary, you see she is just as confused as you are.
Despite all the unanswered questions, life continues. You are finally notified that day that your paperwork was approved and they were sorry for the mix up and inconvenience this may have caused.
Shaking your head, you inform your wife and once again, the two of you get ready to move. You planned to wait a bit, but something keeps telling you to get a move on. The two of you leave town that day. Once across the border, you breathe a sigh of relief-but not too soon as a news report on the radio notifies you of the deaths of several infants in the area you just left.
You look to Mary, and she to you. Then you both gaze back at the Child sitting contently in his car seat.
What Child is this?
Copyright The Faithbook 2011
Photo Courtesy of http://www.sxc.hu