Faith for the Journey of Life

My Thoughts on Faith, Life, and 2,000+ Years of Catholicism / Christianity

23 December 2006

One Night in Judea

In the Roman Province of Judea a long time ago...

"Grandpa, grandpa, come quickly!" an excited young boy commanded as he rushed into the hut of his grandfather early one dark spring night. "You have to see...."
The young boy's words were cut short as he caught sight of his elderly grandfather; the countenance of the old man spoke volumes that even a young boy was able to read in an instant. "Grandpa Jacob, what's wrong?!" the boy asked, perplexed at what he had stumbled into.
The old man was seated alone on the floor by the hearth of a fireplace. A scroll lay partially unrolled in his lap. The only light in the room was that shown by a small lamp and a smoldering fire.
"It is the sad state of affairs this world is in," the old man Jacob finally confessed to his grandson. "I was just reflecting upon the history of our people and what we find ourselves in, John."
A look of bewilderment appeared on the small boy's face. Before he could ask, the old man spoke again. "For thousands of years, our people have suffered greatly at the hands of ourselves and foreign peoples," he said slowly with much lament. "The Romans are just the latest ones to have been conquered us. We have seen our lands and villages pillaged. Our sons and daughters killed or marched off into captivity. Our sacred Temple sacked and desecrated."
"We have strayed from God and suffered the consequences of our disobedience," he continued. "Time and again, prophets warned us and we ignored them. Now God is using the Romans to teach us the same lesson we have not learned so many times before. For our fate, we have no one to blame but ourselves."
"Equally distressing is the delay in our Messiah's coming," the old man continued. "Isaiah and other prophets promised his coming. He would be a light in the darkness. He would shepherd his people Israel. He would redeem us and restore God's kingdom to us. He would teach us the ways we have forgotten and ignored. But alas, it has been so long. I have lived so long, but still we wait and wait and wait." Then with a great sigh, he asked, "Oh, when will our Messiah arrive to set us captives free?"
Patiently, the young boy listened to his grandfather's lament. His face shown a mixture of confusion, but the excitement which had brought him here still shone through.
"I'm sorry, John," the old man apologized when he suddenly remembered the young boy's news which he had wanted to share. "What was it that you wanted to show me?"
"There's a big, bright new star in the sky, Grandpa!" the young boy exclaimed with much enthusiasm.
"Oh?!" the old man replied as the news jolting him out of his melancholy demeanor. "Well, show me this new star," he commanded as he rose to his feet.
The young boy grabbed his grandfather's hand and led him outside into the night. Raising an arm to the east, he pointed at a bright object in the sky. "There it is, Grandpa!" he shouted. "In the sky over Bethlehem!"


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