As permanent residents in this Lakeside Community of Gimli, we converse a lot about tourists & our seasonal people. Things change when the season is busy & people are traveling here for the day to fish, sightsee, shop or visit family & try out the restaurants. Ice cream & a walk along the lake is another favorite. All different reasons, yet similar. A day trip, short vacation away from the city or to attend a special event that is taking place on the beach. When something is going on during holiday seasons...It gets busy in our town!
One night this past winter, I was walking down my street. Everything was still and quiet, there had just been a huge snowfall. I thought back to that Christmas night when the shepherds came into Bethlehem... It had started out like a normal day of work for them and then the Angel appeared! They listened & followed the star as did The Three Wise Men. They came quietly through town. Quite opposite to our visitors. We clearly know when they arrive & it changes the setting completely.
I'm not saying that's a bad thing at all, I'm just making a comparison for this story.
I visualized that night with everything being still. The sky a midnight blue, stars shining brightly and I frequently wonder if that's the way it was that Christmas Eve when the shepherds arrived in the town of Bethlehem?
I've always been so curious. My imagination plays out scenes & I visualize all kinds of things about that night. Especially about how they traveled that distance. They weren't going on vacation. They must have made an arrangement amongst the shepherds to stay with the flock before they left. I'm sure they didn't just forget about their job that night and leave. And I wonder what went through the minds of the ones that were left behind. They must have been curious as to what was happening. The shepherds who traveled were being led by the Angel who appeared to them with the message to follow the star to witness this gift that was coming. They were out of their territory. In a way they were tourists.
Imagine how they felt when they witnessed everything that took place that night. Their lives would never be the same! Those shepherds would have carried back the good news about how the Savior had arrived into this world. They would have returned to the pasture where the flocks were, or home or tell their families, friends, and everyone they met what had taken place. Can you imagine their conversation on the way back? They really were on a mission, and I often wonder about what they were experiencing.
When I get on this train of thought, they become very real to me. I love to sit by my window on dark snowy nights and visualize that night in Bethlehem.
Everything becomes more than verses in the Bible. Imagine if you will, Dear Readers, this all happened when the Shepherds & The Wise Men came into the quiet town of Bethlehem. It changed the numbers of people in that little town...And I'm sure it was never quite the same.
What has been written in the Bible was a sample and mere outline of all that took place when all these extra people came into Bethlehem. I really often imagine 'what if I had been there? Would I have been able to interview the shepherds & write their personal story about what was taking place?' My heart is always drawn firstly to the birth of Jesus, and then all the stories and everything around it. I think about the Innkeeper's wife. She must have been in a flurry trying to get out all her extra sheets, blankets, towels and prepare something for them to eat after their long journey. Most of all, as a woman who I'm sure had children, she would have known what to do to prepare for a birth that was about to take place in their stable.
We must remember also they were business people. They owned an Inn and it was full so there was all those people to look after as well. I can only imagine how they felt because they had no room at their Inn, but they didn't turn them away. The Innkeepers still tried to do the best they could to accommodate them. I'm sure their hospitality outranked a five-star hotel that we know today.
If I had been there on that Christmas Eve night, I would know the answers to my questions, for sure. Did they really sing Oh Little Town of Bethlehem? The Three Wise Men followed that same star and sang that old beloved carol; 'We Three Kings of Orient Are...Bearing Gifts We've Traveled Afar'.
They believed it with all that was within them because they brought the gifts, and they hadn't even seen the Messiah yet. If I had been walking through that town with the villagers on that Christmas night, I would have witnessed the cattle and how even they were still and respectful making soft sounds on the night. I can only imagine when the shepherds arrived in Bethlehem and found Joseph & Mary already there and it was exactly as the Angel had told them when they were out in the field. I can hear them singing, 'Hosanna'! And today we are saved and blessed by it and because of it.
Again, I'm writing about how God so loved the world that He gave us His son, Jesus, to be the Savior of all of us. ***
In the gospel of Matthew, from Chapter 1-2, I am paraphrasing parts of it.
Previously, an Angel had appeared to Joseph in a dream telling him not to be afraid to take Mary as his wife because she had conceived by the Holy Spirit. The Angel told Joseph she will bear a Son and they were to call His name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins. Joseph did as the Angel of the Lord commanded him. He took Mary as his wife, kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son. They called Him Jesus. When the news went out about the upcoming birth of Jesus, The Wise Men followed this star which had appeared in the east. It led them until it came over where the Child was. They rejoiced with great joy and presented gifts of Gold, Frankincense & Myrrh. Then they had to leave.
Luke 2:8: There were shepherds staying out in the fields & keeping watch over their flock by night an Angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them. The glory of the Lord shone around them & they were frightened.
The Angel told them not to be afraid. 'For behold I bring you good news of a great joy which will be for all the people. For today in the city of David, there has been born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you. You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a Manger'.
Suddenly a multitude of heavenly hosts arrived praising God and saying Glory to God in the highest! And on earth, peace among men with whom He is well pleased! After the Angels had gone away into the heavens, the Shepherds began saying to one another: 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see what has happened which the Lord has made known to us'.
They came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph and the baby in the Manger. When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told to them about this child. When the shepherds went back they were glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen just as it had been told to them about the Son of God being born in Bethlehem the City of David. ***
Blessings, Dear Readers as you think on this for a few moments.
Excerpt from the book "101 Roads" by Marlane Lillian Mazur.