Editor’s Note — Here is a likely account of the Daily Times reporting of Jesus’ birth.
Caesar Augustus has issued an executive order calling for a census of the various cities, and, maybe for the first time ever, ordered people to travel to the city of their ancestry to be counted.
One couple found the journey taxing to say the least. Joseph and his fiancee had to travel from Galilee through Nazareth, into Judaea and then to Joseph’s native city of Bethlehem, nicknamed “the city of David.”
What made the journey especially difficult was Joseph’s wife Mary was pregnant, and while they were in Bethlehem, she began to go through the labor process.
‘We attempted to get a room, but were told there were none available,” Joseph told the Daily Times. “My wife is ready to give birth and we have nowhere to stay. That’s when I started into almost a panic state.”
Someone showed the couple to a manger which is a long open box or trough for horses or cattle to eat from, and while the surroundings were not ideal, the very assuming couple made the best of it. all they could find to keep the baby warm was the presence of swaddling cloths, known in some circles as swaddling clothes. Swaddling cloths are narrow bands of cloth formerly wrapped around a newborn child to restrain its movements and quiet it.
“We were blessed with a child that did not cry, and that made the whole experience bearable,” Mary said.
The rural part of Bethlehem is sheep country and that is where the couple and their newborn son were relegated to. Shepherds were all around, and it began to be noised abroad that something supernatural was taking place.
“I saw him, the angel of the lord,” Zachariah the shepherd said. “There was a bright light all around him, and to tell you the truth, I was scared.”
Another of the shepherds, Judah, was asked what he actually heard the alleged angel say.
“He said, ‘don’t be afraid, I have good news for you and for everyone,’” Judah said. “‘Today, the savior, the Messiah, the Lord is born right here in Bethlehem.’ And then he told us how to recognize him.”
Judah, with Zachariah echoing his statements, said the angel told them to look for a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths, in a manger. Zachariah said that was not the end of the angelic appearance.
“They began to say – ‘glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill to men,’” Zachariah said.
“Yes, it was – on earth peace, goodwill to men.’ That is exactly what they said,” Judah repeated.
Judah told the Times they were intrigued by the announcement, though still shaking from the heavenly appearance, they spoke to one another and decided to go to Bethlehem to see if it was actually true that a supernatural birth had just taken place.
“We started out at a kind of jog, then that increased to running,” Zachariah said. “We found this manger, thanks to a really bright star, and met the father, the mother and the baby. I don’t know how to explain this because I can’t say exactly what it was, but I knew immediately, this was no ordinary baby, but something like a king maybe.”
The shepherds went throughout the town telling the residents about what they had experienced, and those residents, in turn, went to the manger scene as well. A rumor going throughout the community was that the baby was to be named Jesus, but that rumor could not be verified at press time.
Government officials have responded to the information with skepticism, but the shepherds of Bethlehem have no doubt what they saw.
“My life will never be the same,” Judah said. “I don’t know why, I just know my life will never be the same.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.