The Real Christmas Story
...as told by Jesus
It was in the time of the great ruler, Herod, that I begin my story. Each day
was one of disruption because he provoked such hate and anger in the way
that he ruled, and his people lived in fear and dread of how he would terrorise
their lives even more.
At the beginning of my story there is almost a fairy tale situation where my
mother, Mary, was promised in marriage (as was the custom at the time), to a
young man in the village of Nazareth, where they both lived.
He was a carpenter, and he was good at his work. He had seem Mary many
times within the village, and already loved her deeply despite the fact that they
had never spoken. They were as one from the beginning. However, many others in the village strove to keep them apart as they doubted that it would last, the reason being that my mother was someone who needed to do things in her own way. She was strong willed and could not always be persuaded to think simply and accept what she was told. But the families felt she and Joseph had similar traits, and might find happiness and diversion in each other's company, particularly as Mary had complete faith in her husband to be.
But it was not easy. as some still challenged the bond. They wanted no part in this union and refused to celebrate it, as they felt no good would come of it. Despite this, the betrothal took place and the tremendous worship they had for one another began.
However, it was a difficult time for families to find a way of living in the area. They were financially drained which was abhorrent to them, but this was how it was in Herod's day. His vast kingdom was growing as he enticed more and more Roman conquerors to believe in him and his authority, so the days grew long with the greed for money and other financial gains he would make from the people.
It was harrowing for them as they suffered under the burden of taxes he levied, and the result was that he bled the country dry, yet still wanted more and more, so that he could live more lavishly.
The people were terrorised by his actions and he relished their distress.
Imagine the situation. In addition to the financial burden, people were becoming wary of each other too, for Herod had his spies in every encampment and village! So when a person was found to hold any sort of authority, and had earned any money that they were entitled to, they had to receive lashes. The fact that these men in turn helped others to be employed while they earned money for their own use meant nothing. It was not allowed and so, instead of it being a loving community, it brought hatred and mistrust.
But the mission was about to begin that would allow people's minds to be free if they had the vision, so for this time they waited, for the Messiah who would help the poor and destroy the upsetting situation within the kingdom.
The Birth of John The Baptist.
Where we find ourselves next, is in a small house on an estate in Galilee, where my mother's aunt lived.
She had been a devoted follower of God, and felt in her heart that she would never have a child. True enough, she had had an unhappy childhood, and then later the love within her marriage that would produce a baby, but she was to become pregnant by a penetration much deeper than that by a man. She became pregnant by the Power of God, and her prayers for an easy and happy birth were answered, and neither mother or child was harmed.
She knew that this had happened through God's intervention, even though she had not been told, however, her husband firmly believed that the child was his. Anyhow, both deeply worshipped God, and they blessed the communion and prepared together for the baby.
So it was that John, who was my relative by birth and the Baptist by his own desire, was born.
He and I became as close as brothers for a short while when, as robust young men, we worked together with God, and I tell you now that he was of the greatest value to God, and gave of his all, as you would do if it was to be your destiny.
Let me now tell you how the Holy Spirit penetrated my mother and gave her a covenant to fulfil.
She was a very aware woman, and during the day she felt unsettled and apprehensive without knowing why.
She had heard of a woman giving birth to a baby, who later became known as Moses, and she also wanted to serve God in that way, but she knew that she was not yet married, so she wondered how that could happen in any way other than with a man?
She searched her mind and decided that if it was necessary to be a mother of a great warrior or leader, no matter how apprehensive she felt, she would do it, and yet, within her, there seemed to be more than that, but she could not see how.
When night came, she fell asleep with a determination to combat any fear she had. She would take on any challenge offered to bring about a strong and powerful leader, so that the men in the area would take up arms and fight for a better life.
But the fear she felt was added to when she awoke in the darkness of the night to see a piercing light penetrating her womb. For a moment she felt sick and upset for she did not understand that it was the Light of God.
Seeing her womb being penetrated by the shaft of light, she momentarily felt uncertain of what was happening, but then almost immediately she felt better, and a rich feeling of goodness followed, revealing to her that she had been chosen to create a being so mighty that God Himself had created the seed.
She was not told this directly by God but she became aware within, that this is what had happened.
Immediately after this, it became uncertain whether my mother and my Earthly father would marry, because they could not see how to explain to others that a baby was expected. In whatever way it was told, it would unsettle the village in a massive way.
Mary had told Joseph, and his heart told him it was the truth, but the fear came in convincing other villagers, so that they did not tear her from her roots and expel her from the village forever. For the villagers would not have hesitated in doing this, because they would get angry at anything that disturbed them, even though it was equally a sin to act in such a churlish and upsetting way.
So my mother and Joseph told them that they wanted to marry shortly, as they wanted to start a family as soon as possible, and in this way they avoided the mayhem that telling the complete truth would have caused.
My mother enjoyed the blessing of a friend who was like a younger sister to her. Her name was Abatha, and she was eighteen years old. She would speak of Abatha as having the face of a pretty girl and a greater gift of understanding; and she loved her like a sister, despite knowing her as a friend in their early years.
When she told Abatha fully about the great honour that God had bestowed on her, she was greeted with the greatest understanding and love, and it was Abatha, a girl who was wise beyond her years, who said, "You must go from the village and have the baby elsewhere, as there are many here, who would suspect and upset what can be a very happy marriage for you both".
That said, both Mary and her husband Joseph left the community of Nazareth to travel to a new town where there would be work and a fresh life for the family. But as they travelled, it was announced that there was to be a census taken of all those who were living in the region of Galilee and the surrounding areas. So this forced them to climb the mountains, and carry the unborn child to a new and less favourable area for a young family, but it was somewhere they needed to be in order that they were part of the head count.
Mary and Joseph were fortunate to have a donkey for Mary to ride on, as they were looked on as valuable creatures at that time, and to have one available to you was indeed good fortune.
But let it be said that our family was robust and even Mary, my mother, was quite reconciled about the need to cross so much country before reaching a town to settle for the night; and I tell you now that although she was tired and unhappy about her situation, and unable to rest properly, she was helped by the guard of God, and the magnificence of the angels, so that she could sleep and feel more refreshed for the journey.
Not only was that journey long, it was also at times a steep climb for a woman bearing an unborn child, and she was often helped from her place on the donkey, to lie in a safe place on the mountainside, and enjoy the cool and calming breeze.
Joseph did not leave her side for one moment. He understood more than most that the Will of God had to be obeyed. He was a willing and grateful member of the synagogue, but he never fully understood why all men were to be accepted into the centre of a religious place, but not the women. He felt that it was demeaning to a woman that her authority should be objected to, and she was not allowed to speak when the need was there for her to do so. He had a real loyalty to this woman he now called his wife, and although he himself was exhausted, he would not leave her side unless she said to do so.
Joseph was not a magnificent man in looks and yet he could hold a person's gaze, because he was a wonderful speaker and narrator, and had a presence about him that others found attractive.
He could speak of many of the upsets that were happening all over Israel at the time, and he did so, but without upset. So he was seen as a man worth knowing. He was mighty in the way he held to his principles, and did not in any way diminish the role of peacemaker.
He understood the need to live in peace, and yet mistakenly, all accounts of him portray him as a mild mannered man, who could not contribute to a loving, caring future. He is instead shown to be weak and unstable, recognising God but bowing down to greater forces around him.
Yet he was a good man and of great value, because he had a mighty influence in my early life as I achieved the power and strategy necessary for a life with God.
When we cherish ourselves we are able to see a greater magnificence in the world too, so I suggest that you understand that, at every step of my journey, I was given the authority and value necessary for me to do God's work. That then meant that I was not tempted towards other things. Once I was old enough to understand, I realised the importance of the role ahead and put aside the ways of a vibrant youth to take on the prophecy of a man reunited with his willing father.
That was how the might and joy of having Joseph as my father on Earth, gave me the power and resolve to be stable, and begin my work early.
As I tell you this story, I realise that I may be giving those of you who understand God's Will, a need to doubt the way the story books tell it, and indeed the truth of the Bible. Yes, clearly there are many mistakes in the way God's purpose has been shown, and also in the way which depicted how my life began. However, I do not want you to think that those first authors were dishonourable people. There was a gap of many years before the story was told, and because there was a deep felt love for some of the characters, they help more prominence in the story than was perhaps warranted.
But all is not lost, if the facts show that a child was born, and he was shown to be the son of all goodness and was worshipped by his family. It also says that he was of value to God, and that he held a greater stance for mankind, because he was to become Christ, and to be worshipped as a Messiah.
A Riot in Bethlehem
Now let us take the story forward to the night of my birth, when all that has previously been stated in books has to change. However, it was not said in error, but as a need to make it into a more enjoyable read. As a result it was told with authority, but not accurately following the actual dramatic events that took place.
There were many dramatic happenings at the time of my birth, and I was just one of them.
Having said that, there were those who realised the significance of my birth, and felt it would help erase the past and bring hope and worth to the future.
When my mother and Joseph reached Bethlehem, they first needed to find accommodation before registering on the census as parents with an unborn child. But there was a riot that had begun in one of the temples where they worshipped God, so this delayed them longer than planned.
Different sects from within the temple were challenging each other's authority, even though they were equal, and both were able to give God's Word. However, the riot had spilled out onto the streets because the angry mob were berating the priests, who had mistakenly instigated different levels of authority. As a result of this, a large number of passersby found that they were unable to leave the area without some threat to themselves.
Many people, even though they were not involved, were swept up in the troubles, and as my mother was of slight build and only five feet tall in her bare feet, she was at great risk of being swept up by the mob. So Joseph decided not to register for the census at that time, and went directly to the inn that stood close by.
It turned out that there was no room there, because of the increased numbers of people in the area due to the census, and they were advised to move out of the town, where they could find safety in a barn within an area where cattle and other animals fed and rested.
This was not easy to do for the route was uphill, and it was at a time when Mary began labour pains, so it became urgent to move her. Many people were also in their way, as by now a crowd had formed to watch the furore of the riot, and in some cases to join in with the violence; so desperate measures had to be taken to find a way of safety for my mother.
There were many people who were there for the violence, but a few of them began to be aware of the situation, and began to help as my mother cried desperately for a way to be found.
It was almost nightfall before they did find a way, and by this time a few people, including the inn keepers wife, had managed to intervene in order to carry my pregnant mother up to the barn. They took it in turns to carry her as the way was steep, and it was impossible to ride on the donkey as the pain of childbirth was soon to begin. However, some did help and they reasoned with the force of people who stood in their way, and at last they were able to shake off the soil of the Bethlehem streets, and move to safer ground.
As it was, it turned out that the barn was a safe haven, and it created a place of sanctuary for my mother as she lay terrified that the mayhem might have harmed her precious cargo.
It was a very intense time, and immediately Joseph took authority over everything, and saw that his wife was cared for as well as possible. He opened shutters to provide some cool air for her, and then tried to lessen, as much as possible, the disdain of such humble surroundings, while every effort was maintained to be of worship to God.
However, he could not change the circumstances, and instead decided that it was in God's hands, and had therefore needed to be a humble choice; but this was not easy to do, as he wanted the best he could provide for his wife. With the mayhem behind him now, he waited patiently for an infant to be born that was not his, but was part of a greater force than he had ever known.
The Birth of Jesus
So it was that I was born. It was a very worrying time because, although my mother had, at the beginning, the stamina of a very strong woman, the journey had necessarily taken its toll.
She had lost some weight and because of the journey, she was not able to eat in the correct manner for herself and her unborn baby; and having reached their destination, she now had no time to replenish her strength before the birth.
I was delivered with such a great force that my mother cried out, which upset everyone including her, because she did not want to cry out, but she had to. But the innkeeper's wife whose name was Hannah, and who was a loving caring soul, watched over my mother with the greatest will, in order to help her when she needed it. So there it was, I was born into the world.
I was held in Hannah's arms at first, as she proceeded to release me from my mother's womb, and she held me high and cried out for a blessing on the newly born child. Although she was not a midwife, she fulfilled the role and proved incredibly valuable to my parents, as they wrestled with the difficulties of a birth in such a filthy and bare place.
In order that she had water to wash me, Hannah called out to one of the men who had been waiting outside to hear of the arrival, and told him to fetch both fresh water and a blanket to wrap the young infant in. She also asked for some hay to act as a base for my cradle, which was to be made in the manger above where my mother lay; and so it was that I was born among strangers, and they fell into our lives as people do when bidden by God.
It was good for my mother to have female company, as she was far from home, and had not had time to make friends, as it was only a few hours since they arrived; but Hannah became her closest friend at this time, and cared for my mother, and held her close when she cried at the agony she had endured; and it was good that she did cry, because she needed to release the emotion of the past days. She and Joseph had moved so far that it frightened Mary, for she was very young, in fact she was barely twenty.
The Move to the Inn
So it happened that Hannah became her friend and ally, because when it was seen to be necessary, she also put pressure on her husband to allow them to move from the harrowing conditions of the stable to a better place within the inn, where they had earlier been refused.
This happened with two days, as the health of my mother, Mary was deteriorating. She had undergone a great ordeal with both the journey and the birth, and was not yet ready to suckle her baby, so for this reason she had to build up her strength again to the level that she had lost.
This left my father, Joseph free to attend the census because there was a lull. People were not so keen to go out whilst the fighting took place, and the route was still frightening as some did still lay in wait to fight anyone who was acting criminally.
But the calm allowed my father to do the work, whilst Hannah sat with my mother, Mary; and so they became friends, and that was when Hannah became party to understanding the meaning of my birth, and what it meant in relation to God.
She was astounded and reinforced the blessing that she had given at my birth. She worshipped the child before her, saying, "If this is to be the way of restoring peace in our midst, I shall exalt him to high honour, and if this is what is given to mankind in order to bring the worship of God to all people, then let it be so", and she worshipped at my cradle.
As the area of Bethlehem was one of great beauty, many cherished it when they arrived footsore to do their duty at the census, and then installed themselves so they could rest for the night.
Meanwhile the word had gone out that there was an infant in town that could bring an astonishing power to the world through its birth. Many people came to the inn, for they had seen the wise moon lowering its gaze on the night of the sixth of January, and they had taken the eclipse to mean a spiritual development of some sort.
As they were wise men, they attended the infant and mother at the inn in which the baby Jesus was staying. It was a time of gifts and merry making, because they were astounded how profoundly they felt that this was the Messiah born amongst them.
They were men from foreign lands, and they searched amongst their belongings for some riches to bring, and found that they had the essence of myrrh, the wisdom of gold, and the devouring force of frankincense that had been gathered two days previous.
They praised both God and Allah, as it was in their teaching that they were the same, and they gave their hearts to the infant child, and worshipped in the way of those who understood what had happened.
They then warned of the danger to the family if they were to stay more than a few weeks, as they said there were spies in town, who would take the news of the birth to the violent King Herod, and he would then execute anyone involved, rather than submit to a higher authority than his own.
Following this, there was a knock on the door, and three shepherds stood there commonly dressed and little educated, but they knew they must see an infant, who was born as the light went out in the area earlier in that week. The shepherds had been told by angels that the child had been born, and that they would find it at the inn.
It had revived their faith in God, where before it had been upset with so much dereliction and unrest happening in the country, and also that God would do nothing to prevent King Herod, other than help him towards an early death through debauchery, and all that goes with it.
But they needed to worship the child, and they did so with great ceremony, feeling fully the importance of what they did. For although it had not seemed rational, they had seen the Heavenly Host, and recognised it immediately for what it was, and believed totally what they were told.
They asked for forgiveness and worship, so that the Son of God would cherish mankind as a whole, and not just those who were wise and believed in the way of God. They did this so that it would restore power to the hands of those, whose numbers had been depleted by Herod. They were calm at the prospect of a new future, and they had faith that it would benefit mankind, if they spoke of what they had just witnessed. However, they did not hesitate when asked to keep the message quiet for a few more days until the way was clear for Mary to leave Bethlehem, and think about returning to the small town of Nazareth, where they would be safe until the baby grew into the man who would be King.
It was not hard for Mary to think about this, as it was the place that had brought her understanding of who she was, and all the good that went with that.
Fleeing the Terror of Herod
So it happened that two weeks after they moved into the inn, they said 'goodbye' to the many friends who had become a prominent part of the birth of Christ.
They had doubts about the best route to take home as Judea was full of spies, and the attitude of some people left them wary, so they journeyed round the north of the capital, Jerusalem, and took a route into an area that was called Palestine, but was later to become part of Egypt.
They travelled on and on, employing both skill and awareness to avoid the main areas where there was possible danger, but the country they had fled was not safe, for Herod had heard that there had been travellers within kingdom who had witnessed the blessing of a child, who was to become king among men.
He was furious, and he wished ill of them all. Then, in one stroke he ordered the death of any child within one year of age. Mothers were a threat too, as he had no faith that a woman would not have another child for the same powerful role, so he ordered all mothers standing with a child would be killed too.
So the area became riven with the dead bodies of children and their mothers, the latter having endured several lashes before they were allowed to die.
The area of grief was vast, and it was imperative that the young family of Mary and Joseph avoided it at all costs, but by the time they left Bethlehem, the family were fairly penniless, and it was essential that Joseph earned money so that they could buy food and provisions. So he worked as a carpenter in the areas where they travelled, and as they entered communities, he would offer his skills to any woodsman who had the power to employ him.
He carried the tools that allowed him to earn the money each day that would provide food for the baby, as well as himself and Mary.
However, things gradually improved and in one place, in exchange for more carpentry work, he was offered clean accommodation and a bed for them all. The place was called Kaltrah, and they stayed for a while. They were sad about being so far from home, but they were safe and that was important.
Six months passed, and I was growing fast, and able now to see my mother for the angel she really was. She never scolded me, but used her love instead, and it was an enchanting gift, for she loved me greatly.
Joseph also cared very much for her, and he became a loving father, so she found a deep love within her heart for the man who had taken on such a burden in his life, and who had carried on willingly, and behaved in an exemplary way.
He was adored by everyone who knew him, because he was so trustworthy, and he taught me to live in a way that brought true wisdom and power for the future, so that I would be worthwhile to my work ahead.
Returning to Nazareth
So finally a time came when the family of Mary and Joseph decided to go home, and they left the building where they had slept for almost a year, and wearily made their way back to Nazareth.
By now I was about two years old, and I had lived all my life outside the area, so I was both fascinated and wary when I met my family from the east side of the town, with a need for them to accept me as a newborn but able child.
Everyone who came to the village was given a name, and I was called 'The One of Melodic Tunes', for I was forever singing or humming what ever I heard others performing, so it was a tribute to my skills. I became a part of Nazareth, and I knew of nowhere else until I became an adult.