Grab a cup of hot chocolate and find a comfy spot by the Christmas tree because today I decided to write a short story about a young boy on the night that Jesus was born.

A Bethlehem Boy’s Curious Christmas

I can’t sleep tonight.  My room is full of cousins.  Older cousins, younger cousins, boy cousins and girl cousins.  I have a lot of cousins.  And it’s been fun to have them here in my house.  I actually haven’t seen them in a while.  Caesar called this census thing so for the last few days people have been coming to Bethlehem.  And my house is full of aunts, uncles, and lots of cousins.  And I’m lying here in bed talking to my ceiling.

Anyway, I’ve never been in a census before.  I don’t even know why we have to do this.  But Caesar said we have to.  And whatever the Romans say, well, we have to do.  So that means we will have a census.  Caesar Augustus wants a list of everyone in the whole Roman world.  We don’t really want to be in the Roman world, but we are.  So everyone from the family line of David has to come here to be counted.  Which is why Bethlehem is so crowded tonight.

It’s not so bad though.  Today I got to play with Tom.  It’s great having another 10-year-old boy in our house.  We played tag out in the street today with the other kids.  That was so funny when Tom tried to hide behind a palm tree.  Palm trees don’t work well for hiding behind.  And it’s a fun break from my usual lessons.  I’m glad I don’t have to stay home with my mom and my sisters every day.  I like going with my brothers to learn Scripture.  I can already say a lot of the books that Moses wrote.  Dad said he’s proud of me for having so much memorized.  Lately we’ve been studying prophecies about the coming Messiah.  They say he’s going to come from Bethlehem.  Pretty cool.  But now that it’s nighttime, it’s very quiet here in Bethlehem.  No lessons.  No playing tag.  No nothing.  It’s very still.  In fact, more still than I can ever remember.  My mom would call it peaceful.  Peaceful or not, I can’t sleep.  And I’m still talking to my ceiling.

Ugh.  Tom is snoring.  Be quiet, Tom!  And how many times can Ben roll over in bed?  Double ugh.

Wait, I hear a man outside my window.  I think he needs a place to stay.  What?  His wife is having a baby?  Now?  Oh, no!  I remember when my mom had my little sister.  Everyone came around to help out.  Where will that man and his wife stay?  This city is so crowded.  I’d offer him some room here in my house, but we’re packed in here like a net full of Uncle Dan’s biggest catch of fish.  Haha.  Uncle Dan’s fish stories get bigger and better each time he tells them.  And Tom’s snoring would definitely keep that new baby awake.  I guess I can’t really help that man.  I hope they find a place.  I’ve got to go look out the window and see.

There he is.  Poor man.  He goes from door to door.  And his wife looks like she wants a room RIGHT NOW.  Why are they alone?  No one travels alone around here.  Wait, I think he found a place.  Over there with the animals.  Well, probably not the nicest accommodations here in Bethlehem, but I think that lady will take anything right now.

ZZZZZssssssnooooorrrrrr…..Oh, that Tom.  Hey, I think I hear a baby crying.  It’s not like my baby cousin when she cries.  It sounds like a brand new baby.  Maybe that lady had her baby.  Anyway, that baby cry sure sounds better than Tom’s snoring.

Hey!  How did I miss that?  That star, it’s so bright!  Okay, I am going out of this window.  I have to see this!  Mom and Dad won’t mind if I go out for just a minute.  And I could use a break from that awful snoring.

Wow!  I’ve never seen a brighter star!  And it’s right over that place where that man took his wife.  I’ve got to see what’s going on over there.

Wait.  What’s going on up there?  Over at that field?  I saw a bunch of sheep over there during the day today.  Something’s definitely going on there now, tonight.  The sky is so bright.  And it’s not the shepherds’ campfire.  And what is that sound?  That is not sheep.  No way.  And it can’t be those shepherds singing.  No way ever.  It sounds beautiful.  Like super-excited angels singing about something.  Wait.  I think it IS super-excited angels singing about something.  But singing to shepherds?  Why shepherds?  They’re just, you know, stinky shepherds.  Hmmm…Well, I’m going over there by those stinky shepherds to see if it really is angels singing about something.  I’ve never seen real angels before.  Come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve actually seen shepherds before, not up close anyway.  We don’t really hang around those kinds of guys much.  This will be awesome!

See you later, Snoring Tom, and my house, and these palm trees.  This night is so still, even with that baby that was crying and whatever is going on up there on the hillside.

Good thing we had a good dinner tonight.  This is a long walk!

Whoa, look at all those, umm, those bright angels in the sky!  Angels!  They ARE singing!  “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”  Cool!  But what does that mean?  Why are they singing tonight?  And what is that angel telling those shepherds?  They look scared.  Well, wait, they don’t look scared anymore.  Hey, they’re coming this way!  The shepherds are running toward me!  Yikes!  I’ll hide behind this palm tree so they don’t see me.  Okay, it didn’t work so well for Tom today, but it’s all I’ve got.

Those shepherds sure can run fast!  Where are they going?  Hey, I think that’s the place where that man and his wife went.  Maybe that baby cry was their baby.  Why would the shepherds go there?  And why is that super-bright star right above that place?  Alright, I’m going.  I’ve got to check this out.

Huh.  Not much going on here really.  Just a baby in a feeding trough that the animals probably just ate out of.  Yuck!  Why are the shepherds so excited about that?  Well, they are shepherds after all.  But why are they calling that baby the Messiah?

I’ve learned about the coming Messiah.  If this baby is him, than things are all upside-down.  The Messiah should be a king.  The rabbi said that he will save us from the Romans.  At the least, he should be born in a palace and be surrounded by servants and maybe be covered by a nice soft purple blanket.  This baby has strips of cloth, he’s in a place for animals and he’s sleeping in a feeding trough.  And he’s surrounded by just regular people.   And shepherds.  And animals.  Doesn’t seem very kingly to me.  More like the birth of a servant really.

Yaaaaaawwwwn.  I better get back home.  I wonder if Tom has stopped snoring yet.  I could really use some sleep.  I’ve seen enough here.  I’m going back.

Wow, that star in the sky is so bright.  Good thing, because the light is great for finding my way back home.

Well, here I am back in my bed.  Next to Tom.  Ahhhh.  A quiet Tom.  Thank you, Tom.  Hmm…  Still can’t sleep.

I keep thinking of the Scriptures that we’ve been learning.

It’s written, “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near.  A star will come out of Jacob; a scepter will rise out of Israel.”  Our deliverer will be like a star that will bring us victory over our enemies.  Will that baby be the one that will rule the nations?

And there will be a prophet like Moses who will speak truth.  It’s written, “The Lord said to me:  ‘What they say is good.  I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers; I will put my words in his mouth, and he will tell them everything I command him.  If anyone does not listen to my words that the prophet speaks in my name, I myself will call him to account.”  Will that baby be the one like Moses who will speak truth?

Micah wrote, “But you, Bethlehem, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”  The Messiah will come out of Bethlehem.  But that little baby?  In a feeding trough?  Surrounded by shepherds?

And when Moses wrote that God said to the snake in the garden, “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head and you will strike his heel,” what did he mean?  What could a little baby like that do?  Can that baby crush Satan?

Could that baby be the promised Messiah?

Could that baby be the one to save usZzzzzzz…

*Numbers 24:17; Deuteronomy 18:17-19; Micah 5:2; Genesis 3:15, all NIV.