Monday, 7 September 2015

What Happened to the Living Bread?


24th  Chisleu
December 9th
Dear Diary,
This has been a very, very hard day. I am almost too weary to write, but must because such memorable things are happening. My body is being wracked with pain. I’ve clung to the poor donkey’s neck and I let my veil conceal my face so Yosef would not see how difficult it has been for me. Not that I fooled him for one moment. He is so anxious, he keeps asking whether or not we should press on to reach Beth Lechem’s khan(inn), by nightfall or if he should let me rest more often.

As it is, many have tramped on ahead. We are left behind with the roving wild animals, the geshem,, and perhaps even bandits for company. But I do not need to think of that. My emotions are fragile for many reasonssomehow, I still know that Adonai,  hallowed be His Name,  will care for us and His own beloved Son.




24 Chisleu
December 9th
continued
This page will surely be unreadable because I can’t keep the tears from falling. We finally reached Beth Lechem by nightfall but there was no room at the khan, no room at all! All the rooms above the shelter for the animals were overcrowded with wealthy wayfarers, much wealthier than us. In the courtyard below, the animals had scarcely enough room to shuffle around.

The innkeeper seemed apologetic, but helpless. Yosef pleaded for him to suggest someplace—anywhere for us to stay, but the poor, overwrought innkeeper shook his head sorrowfully.
“I am sorry. So sorry,” the innkeeper said, stroking his long, wavy beard agitatedly. He lifted his hand to point at the people crowding around.
“See this multitude? They too are in the same predicament that you are in.”
“But is there not somewhere, anywhere that we can go?”

In Yosef’s desperation, he reached out to clutch the steward’s striped garment.

“Look, it is not for me that I am concerned,” Yosef continued, “t is for my wife! She is young, slight of build, yet great with child. I fear that all this traveling may bring travail upon her earlier than it ought. We need to find a shelter where she can rest.”

The paunchy innkeeper’s brow furrowed as he gazed around, as if looking for direction. Someone plucked at his sleeve, demanding attention, with a scowl he nudged him aside.

“On yonder ridge is the town, but you will fare no better there.  Nary a house is not overfilled with guests at this time. Many have long awaited the  census already,  and I fear no one is willing or able to take in more travellers.”

“But is there no where for us to go? We are of the lineage of David!

‘”The lineage of David? Aye, that should help, should help. Know you not of any relative you could stay with?”
            Yosef wrung his hands. “I know of none. We should have inquired earlier..

The innkeeper stepped back and fumbled with his sash. “This small town is not able to contain all those of David’s line.” He finally admitted, sighing heavily.
“Yonder ridge has its share of caves. Many of them will be used as stables in this present predicament, but if you can find a little rest in one of them, you are welcome to it. I will send a servant after you with fresh straw.

“If you require a midwife before the night is over, I may find a moment to check into it, but it will be nigh impossible to secure one at this time. More than one woman is in the same dire condition as your sweet wife.”

In gratitude, Yosef took his hand, clasped it, then reached for the lead strap on the donkey so we could clamber awkwardly down among the rocks in search of a grotto turned into a stable. I lowered the veil back over my face, lest Yosef would see the despair written there.

We did find a cave, however, without too much searching.

When Yosef was able to get the clay lamp lit, it seemed more cozy and inviting. It was rather crowded, unfortunately. Yosef is trying to
persuade some of our fellow cave dwellers to take their lowing, smelly, burden bearers and hustle off to give us a measure of peace.

I am so weary that all I want to do is remove my wet garments, find something dry to wear, and try to rest.  Yosef was rather anxiously fluffing up the fresh straw, which was delivered by a young lad with a hand cart, he is now shaking out our blanket.


I laid  the baby’s swaddling strips near the fire to dry. Fortunatelywe had kept one blanket packed well so it wouldn’t get wet on the trip. It was somewhat damp in a couple places but it was better than nothing. We sat beside a central fire until I was warmed up, which seemed to take
forever, then we crawled under our one rather thin blanket together.
In the stall next to ours are two donkeys, tied up, their owners are lounging against a nearby wall. At the far end of the cave, there is some activity going on. I think a shepherd is about to aid a ewe giving birth. Will there be two male ‘lambs’ born before the night is o’er?

24th Chisleu
December 9th
Dear Diary,
I feel that my time is drawing nigh, I am anxious. It is frightening to think of having my baby without my mother, or a midwife nearby. I am worried about the baby. What will happen if He comes before we can move on to a better dwelling? This cave is not clean enough!

Two of the wayfarers, a middle-aged couple, were cooperative and helped us out. Some of the others growled that they were here first and were not at all inclined to be agreeable under such chilly weather conditions.

I fear they have been indulging too long in the wine that is red.

Oh, surely, surely Adonai, hallowed be His Name, will be with me during this difficult time. My every breath is a prayer that  Adonai will
protect His own Beloved Son and me.

By the dejected slope of Yosefs shoulders, I can sense that he feels that he has somehow failed me and us. I must stop writing now and tell him how warm and inviting it all looks by the light of the lamp. Surely these stabbing pains will ease now that I have a place to rest. It seems too soon for the little one to make His appearance.



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