As Advent begins, join us throughout December as Jeff tells a story of The Second Christmas, when Jesus’ birth is remembered and celebrated for the first time.
There was another knock at the door. John’s wife, Sarah, put down the dough she had been kneading to watch Joseph, her house servant, walk over to greet and wash the feet of whoever it was. She was sure he was getting tired. Many visitors had arrived that day. Sarah scanned the main living area of her home, now providing comfort for nearly 20 visitors. She wondered how many others could fit into the normal hosting spaces. She smiled to herself knowing that she had also prepared some of their normally private areas for guests. Mary had become quite the person to visit over the last year since Jesus’ death and resurrection. What an honor to have Mary living in her house! She was once again overwhelmed with thankfulness that her John had given up the family business to follow the master.
It was John who had thought that this celebration, the anniversary of Jesus birth in Bethlehem 34 years ago, would be a good idea. Her children’s laughter brought her back to the present. The new arrival was Yoshi, a shepherd, who was just a boy on that special night, tagging along with his father. Yeshua (Yoshi’s real name) had been carried along on his father’s shoulders from those fields to the stable cave where the baby, also named Yeshua, was lying asleep. Yoshi’s father, Abram, had brought a lamb that night. Yoshi had brought one tonight and her children and the others gathered, skipping and dancing around it,and laughing at the lamb’s attempts to put strength to its legs after being carried so long. Sarah glanced at Tanta Mary, as she was regularly called, sitting close and holding her hands out so that no one would fall over on her by accident. Her eyes sparkled brightly watching the lamb, most likely being whisked away in her mind to that night long ago. It seemed that the light of that special star had been captured within Mary’s eyes and was once again shining through her to light this night.
Sarah glanced down at the dough in her hands as she pulled it apart. For a moment she was lost in the action. Other hands held the dough which was now bread. Wounds would soon mar those hands that passed the bread to one, and then another. “This is my body, broken for you,” she heard so clearly. Tears escaped her eyes and fell to the table below making clay of the excess flour scattered there. “This is my blood, poured out for you.” She had been there, serving the master and the others that night.
“Mother,” she heard as if from a great distance. She tried to focus. “Mother! Are you crying?” her oldest asked. “No, my dearest,” she lied. “Just some flour in my eyes.” She smiled at her son, tousled his hair and remembered… this was not a night for sadness but for celebration. How did John like to put it? “The Light has come into the world!”