Saturday, December 10, 2016

Advent 2016

The Innkeeper's Daughter


            At this time in Bethlehem, the townspeople were scurrying about preparing for those who were returning to their place of birth.  The census takers gathered with their tokens to record an accurate count of these people.

            At the same time the farmers were harvesting the wheat which had to be ground each day by the bakers in order to make bread.  They baked for the many people carrying out their civic duties by traveling to this special town.

            Children in the town had been assigned the important job of collecting water at the well for drinking and bathing, carrying it to places where it was needed.  In fact, everyone was assigned a job and they were expected to make this plan run smoothly.

            The townspeople were aware of Mary and Joseph's situation, as word had spread from person to person.  Still, they were offered a place to stay with the animals in the stable of the innkeeper.  Sarah, the innkeeper's twelve-year-old daughter who fed and watered all the animals in the stable soon realized that she needed to help the couple, Mary and Joseph, along with their newborn son, Jesus.  Sarah worked on specific chores without being told to do so by others.  First, she located strips of fabric (swaddling clothes) to wrap around the newly born infant.  Then, the animals' manger, a movable feeding trough filled with hay, was used as a bed for the baby.  Most importantly, as she helped by holding this special baby in her arms, she experienced awe and wonderment.

            It was not long before shepherds, followed by angels, were guided by stars to the inn.  Sarah ushered them to the stable where they found a baby surrounded by Mary and Joseph along with the animals.  Many questions were directed to Sarah, who was realizing that all the people were so close, yet so far away because of their limited knowledge concerning what was happening.  So much light was shining, yet darkness still prevailed in Bethlehem.  From the wisdom of a young girl who had heard many conversations from travelers at the inn, she thought that the coming of a Messiah which had been prophesied must be finally at hand.  Soon Mary confided to her that the birth of Jesus was divine.  Sarah asked for God's help as she answered many questions posed first by the shepherds and later by the wise men and busy townspeople.  It was evident that a simple stable worker was one person in Bethlehem blessed with wisdom who understood this was an incredible event. 

            Over 2,000 years have passed, and we still have a great need to reflect like those in Bethlehem.  May our individual meditations this year be about deepening our own faith in our Messiah, Jesus Christ, like others experienced long ago.


-- Donna Plunkett



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