Emmanuel #Christmas #story




There are people everywhere in this little village of Bethlehem. It was light when we began our journey. My little ones are cold, but they have to wait in line like the rest of us. “There will be a crust of bread soon,” I whisper.  I rock back and forth on my feet to keep warm. My shawl is wrapped around my daughter’s shoulders.  The memory of the day’s sun is my only warmth. “Move along” a soldier on horseback almost knocks over my little boy. My husband silently pulls his namesake close. I know he wants to curse the Romans but even a scowl of discontent will lock him in prison.  A murmur courses through the crowd, ” It is said Messiah will come.” “Maybe this year,” an old priest says in hushed tones. God knows we are destitute and Rome is  an unbearable manacle around our wrists. “Please come and restore peace,” I silently pray. “Lift your face” a Roman holds his rod under my chin. “Were you praying?” I shake my head. “Dust in my eyes, master.” “Keep your pretty eyes open.” He looks lustfully at me. “Get going,” he strikes my husband forcefully on the back.

“There was a chorus of angels,” a message filters down the line.

“Shepherds in the fields saw them.”

“It must have been frightening.”

“Do you know what that means?”

“Our God has heard us.”

“Why are we still in these rags then?”

“Be patient wrongs will be made right.”

“Rome must be destroyed.”

“In good time…”

“Messiah will set us free.”

I imagine life free of this nightmare. Tyranny’s fist gone from our lives. My children will not know oppression as I have. I take a risk and fall to my knees praising God in my heart for His gift of love.

My arm is gently grasped. “Come with me” a voice grazes past my ear. “You will find your family later.”  I am led to a stall.  “Thank you,” I say to the man who has vanished.   I am used to animals so the strong smell doesn’t bother me.  I kneel because I am filled with knowledge that I am in the presence of glory. God is with me in this moment and all the cares of life have been washed away. I get off my knees and spin in a joyful dance. My eyes meet the mothers’.  Her smile is so serene as she holds her precious baby. “Here,” she offers “hold Him.” I am a mother of three,but I feel ill equipped to hold the chosen one. “Yes, it’s alright.” I look in His face. A single word fills me “blessed.” His finger grasps at mine. ” Yes, I am blessed,” I coo. Somehow I understood with no words being spoken what this small child was meant to do. “I will pray for you,” I mouthed to the mother as I looked at my Messiah one last time. “Shalom,” I said as I departed.

It’s as if everything around Him was acknowledging His birth. I heard the words of Isaiah brush by me on a fragrant stream of air. For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. ¹ 

As I walked back to my family, my circumstances had not changed. The Romans were as callous and barbaric as before, but I knew that my life would always be different. “God is with us,” I smiled, ” and He has come as a babe to save the world.”


Jesus came to the world not to rule with iron might but to love in absolute vulnerability. The ultimate gift was given to mankind. This love is more fierce and powerful than any military or political presence. This love sets all people free. It is only in this guileless love that Peace can be found;  only in the Son of man can we be delivered from life’s manacles. SHALOM








Bethlehem #poetry #Christmas


 Outside of Bethlehem

rocks, sheep and cold

better than noisy masses

for the city was over full

outside of Bethlehem

we dozed as the sheep slept

never imagining

the concert that we’d get

outside of Bethlehem

unusual night for us

the skies were a blazing

with the Heavenly chorus

outside of Bethlehem

a message we received

we cowed and fearful

in angels we believed

inside of Bethlehem

we beheld and we saw

the babe, the son of Mary

we bowed in silent awe

inside of Bethlehem

inspired with a reason

a message for the masses

“wake up to a new season”

outside of Bethlehem

a tear creased our eyes

disbelief and hatred

this king they would despise


Please if you have time to visit Pen of the Damned read:  “Other Side of Bethlehem.” This is a sad and chilling contrast of that precious night and a look at the cold heart of man.

The top picture of the fields of Bethlehem is from the website of the Salvationist. There are many pictures and reflections about Bethlehem.

Christmas Child #poetry #devotion #Christmas

a star

One day a couple’s life

forever was to change

knowing not what was to come

the setting very strange

One day a babe was born

in a stable cold and dank

entering a cheerless world

no stature, little rank

One night shepherds lay

like any other night

beneath a brisk and winter sky

the sky grew loud and bright

One night an angel’s choir

told of heaven’s news

one headline in history

sceptics could not excuse

Long ago a babe was born

with love for you and me

the greatest gift the world could know

doesn’t fit beneath a tree


” Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us:

…she (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.”

Luke 1:1 and Luke 2:7-16

Down through the centuries, man has tried to refute the birth of a child who came from Heaven to change the balance of good and evil.  There are no other tales (in mythology) of a son of a God who is born the lowest of births and whose life is as a suffering/ sacrificial pauper. It’s incredulous that anyone would follow such a God.

Yet, we still celebrate His coming. This man is no mythological rendering – He is King!

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