The light shines in darkness and the darkness comprehends it not.

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I heard the Kurdish version of the story of the wisemen while working in a refugee camp. Kurds are the descendents of the Medes (I didn’t know that either!) So, Daniel (of lion’s den fame) worked for the king of the Medes and trained a school of wise men to follow in his footsteps after he was gone. According to Kurdish tradition the wisemen were “descendants” of Daniel. That’s why they knew about the star and the coming king!

I love it when I discover a new piece of the puzzle. Just wanted to share this little known one. It seems powers that be have long been trying to eradicate much of Kurdish literature which sheds light on their ancient Christian roots. The friend that told me this tale hoped to one day make it to London to search the texts in the British museum, the only remaining sanctuary of these ancient books.

 

Christmas reality.

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Face wet with tears, she hugged her knees towards her ripening belly, seeking to keep out the chill night air. Her heart ached. This was not how she’d imagined it. Why did no one believe her?

Her cousin had understood, rejoiced with her, but on returning home she’d faced utter rejection. Father wanted to turn her out of the house. Mother thought her mad, raving! They all thought it was him… that they’d…

She remembered his face, the pain inflicted by her seeming betrayal. At least he was prepared to send her away, wouldn’t enact the law as was his right. He’d considered it, she knew, but couldn’t face the thought. The law was explicit. She was not fit to live. He was not a vengeful man, for that she could be thankful, but he would never forgive her.

She recalled his anger at her stammered explanation.

“You expect me to believe that!” he’d yelled. “I’ll be the laughing stock of the village!  Even if I send you away they’ll guess.” What would she do, where would she go. No one would take her in her present state.

Red tinged the sky, a narrow band on the horizon greeting the day. A shape appeared midst the shadows, coming closer. Then suddenly he was there, arms open to encircle her.

“It’s alright Mary. I believe you. We’ll be married.”

“But they’ll all think it was you…”

“I know,” Joseph replied. “But I know who the child really is. It doesn’t matter what they say, God has given me a great honour.” Shyly hesitant he placed his hand on the small mound of her belly. “I’ll take care of you both, I promise.” He whispered.

Two Babes in a Manger (an oldie goldie Christmas story)

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manger
In 1994, two American volunteers answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach Bible-based morals and ethics classes in several schools and institutions, including a home for about 100 orphaned, abandoned, or abused children.

Shortly before Christmas, the volunteers told the children at the home the story of the first Christmas—a story that most of them had never heard before. The children listened in rapt amazement as Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, found no room in the inn, and ended up taking refuge in a stable, where Mary gave birth to baby Jesus and laid Him to sleep in a manger.

Afterwards the volunteers organized an art project. They gave each of the children a small piece of cardboard to make a manger, part of a yellow napkin to cut up for straw, a piece of beige felt from which to cut baby Jesus, and a scrap of fabric to wrap Him in. As the children assembled their mangers, the volunteers moved around the room, interacting with the children and offering a little help where needed.

When one of the volunteers came to six-year-old Misha, she found that he had already finished his project. But as she looked closer, she was surprised to see two babies in his manger. When she asked him about this, Misha crossed his arms, knit his brow, and began explaining very seriously. For such a young boy who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related it all quite accurately, until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger. Then he started to ad lib.

“Baby Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told Him I have no mama and no papa, so I don’t have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with Him. But I told Him I couldn’t, because I didn’t have a gift to give Him like everybody else. But I wanted to stay with Jesus very much, so I thought about what I could maybe use for a gift. I asked Jesus, ‘If I keep You warm, will that be a good enough gift?’ And Jesus told me, ‘If you keep Me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave Me.’ So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and said I could stay with Him for always.”

As little Misha finished his story, tears filled his eyes and splashed down his cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, he dropped his head to the table and sobbed. Misha had found Someone who would never abandon or abuse him, Someone who would stay with him “for always.”1—Author unknown

 

Have you ever stopped to think.

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Ten Christmas thoughts we might forget:

  1. Mary and Joseph became Middle Eastern refugees!
  2. Mary was a single mum! She would have been ostracized maybe even stoned to death if Joseph hadn’t believed the angel.
  3. Joseph probably got the blame for “knocking up Mary” causing a shockingly hasty marriage.
  4. Joseph was a step dad to a child not his own.
  5. He was a manual worker and probably got pretty dirty and sweaty.
  6. They were poor and lived in an occupied country.
  7. Shepherds were looked on as very “dodgy characters” in those days.
  8. Stables and mangers (even forming part of a relative’s house as is now suspected from historical research) are not 5 star hotels.
  9. They were probably very thankful for the wise men’s gifts (how else would they finance a move to Egypt?)
  10. We look back and glorify the story but for Mary and Joseph (as in all real life adventures) it must have been tough, humiliating and more than a bit scary! I honor their faith and yieldedness.