Thursday, December 20, 2012

Sobering Sensation

Our family visited the recreation of Bethlehem in Burnett, Texas last Sunday - what a moving experience! Eating freshly baked Bethlehem bread, hearing the shepherds announce the birth of a savior in the town square, listening to the priest chant from the Torah...all very moving. We came to the inn, finally, after wandering through shops, homes, and crowded streets (it was the time for the census, you know), and talked with the inn keeper himself. A fearsome Roman soldier stood guard nearby, armed with a steel-tipped spear. He didn't smile once and performed his role so realistically, I was afraid to approach him. The inn keeper shared how cruel the Romans were to the Jewish citizens, taxing them heavily and arresting anyone for the slightest offense. He also shared that there was no room for us in his inn, in fact, he had to turn away a very pregnant young woman and her husband, but gave them the stable in back with clean straw and shelter from the elements. "Funny thing," he said. "Right after they settled in, a bright star arose over the stable. And," he told us, "there were shepherds telling everyone that angels had appeared announcing a king had been born!" The inn keeper chuckled and mused, "Why would a king choose to be born in a poor town like Bethlehem? Doesn't make any sense."

Oh, but it did! Until I visited Bethlehem and saw for myself how truly humble a place it was, I never really felt how much God cares only that we accept and love Him for Him alone - not what He's able to give us, or how important we can feel because we belong to a rich king. And yet, He owns everything, so we truly are rich. In spite of this season's tragedies, including a fire that destroyed three entire apartment buildings in Austin this morning, let us remember that although suffering and oppression (like the Roman soldiers) will always remain, so will the love and mercy of God our Heavenly Father. May His peace rule in our hearts this season and in the year to come.

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year!

~Nancy Jill


  1. Thank you for sharing this Nancy. This was so moving. God Bless you and Merry Christmas.

    1. I love the true meaning of Christmas. And I love connecting with other believers, especially ones like you, Mandy. Thanks for stopping by.

      ~Nancy Jill