The untold perspective of a neighborhood boy and his family on Christmas night, over 2000 years ago.
In a small town in Palestine, a little boy tosses and turns in his bed.
Forcing his eyes closed, he folds his arms over his ears. Nope. The woman’s cries still filter through. With a sigh, he stares at the ceiling and counts the wooden beams sticking through the mud, high above his head. But sticks and mud can’t entertain a little boy for long.
“Momma!” He shouts as he bursts through the doorway to his parents’ room. Mother jolts awake while father groans and rolls over. Excitement blinds the boy from mother’s tired glare as he jumps on the bed by her side, “There’s a woman yelling across the street!”
Mother rubs her eyes. They listen as the woman’s yells become so loud the little boy covers his ears and cringes. Then, as quickly as it came, the scream stops. And a smaller, softer cry echoes through the night.
His mother pats his head and yawns, “My son…That’s just the sound of another birth at the Inn….” She fluffs the pillow behind her. “Remember, good children honor their father and their mother. And that means…good children let them sleep.” Slowly, she rolls onto her side and curls comfortably by father.
Not satisfied, and certainly not tired at all, the little boy purses his lips and stomps from the room. Something, call it curiosity or call it light from a lamp, drew him to the front door. Peeking through the cracks, he stares into the street and waits. Movement catches his eye at the Inn’s stables.
A man dressed in green walks past the opening. Then crosses back. He stops and turns. Suddenly, an old woman appears and hands him a bundle of fabric. She says something and the man’s face relaxes, and almost even smiles. Carefully, he sits on a pile of hay and kisses the blankets.
Noisy crunches from the street draw the little boy’s attention. Through the hole, he spys 3 men with shepherd staffs. They walk and talk quietly, often glancing at the stars. One of them points towards the stables. The man in green looks at them and nods, and all three run to join him. Then, the little boy scrunches his eyebrows, they did something quite strange. Even for shepherds.
“Psssst! Momma!” The boy yells in a hushed whisper, keeping his eyes on the men.
“What…” Mother groans from the room.
“Now there’s shepherds at the Inn and…”
“And what?” She groans louder.
“and…” he crinkles his nose, “they bowed to a lamb!”
Mother lets out a loud sigh. After a few soft rustling sounds, she appears at the doorway. “My son, I’m sure it wasn’t to a lamb…” Dragging her feet, she pulls her blanket tightly around her and stands by the boy. It takes a couple tries, but eventually she peels him away from the peek-hole. She looks down at her child with love. Care. Exhaustion. And a little anger. “There was a birth. The family is probably coming to visit. Now…Go. To. Sleep.” She blinks and softens her tone again, “There’s much work to be done in the morning.”
Defeated, the little boy stomps to his bedroom. Pouting on the bed, he starts to feel his eyelids grow heavy. His breathing begins to deepen when a sudden crash splits the calm. A man shouts, and jingling sounds continue. A camel moans loudly in protest.
“I tried to be good.” The little boy thinks to himself as he hurries to put on his sandals. “But maybe I’m not supposed to sleep tonight.”
He rushes to the door and peeks through again. The 3 men, he can now see, are clothed in fine linens and draped in gold jewelry. Like the shepherds, they stop in front of the smelly stable.
With only a quick glance over his shoulder, he checks to make sure his mom is still sleeping. Then, carefully, the little boy wedges the door open and slips through the crack.
“I’ll find out what’s so special about a lamb.”
We know what’s so special! 😉
And though our bovine friends are amazing, that night, shepherds and wise men gathered to celebrate the birth of the promised Savior, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
I hope you enjoyed this short story. It’s a little different from what I usually post. And I know, I used some modern slang. But I wanted it to be read naturally, as though modern English was the language of the day.