"Go away! Can't you read?" I knew whoever was outside couldn't hear my ranting, but it made me feel better. I opened the door a crack. "What do you want?"
"We need a room."
"Can't you read? It says 'No vacancies.'" Now, that wasn't exactly the whole truth, I'll admit. I did have a few rooms open, but they were reserved for the elite.
"I'm sorry sir, but we've been all over town, and we thought maybe.... You see, my fiancé is pregnant, and...."
"Pregnant? And you're not married? I'm sorry, but I wouldn't house the likes of you even if I could."
As I was shutting the door in the man's face, I saw something in his eyes. I'm not quite sure what it was, but I couldn't ignore it. "Look. I do have a stable out back here. It's not much, but...."
"We'll take it. How much?"
"It's on me," I said, not quite sure what had overcome me.
"Who was that?" my wife asked, as I climbed back into bed.
"Some man with his fiancé. She was very pregnant. I let them use the stable."
"I know, I know. I wouldn't normally allow his type on our property, but...."
"That's not what I meant, Bartholomew," my wife recanted. "You should have let them use our room. Why, that woman could have her baby any minute. And you're content with letting her sleep in a barn. I'm going out there." With that, my wife gathered some supplies and headed out to the stable.
Soon, I could hear a woman's agonizing cries. My wife had returned to the house to let this woman and her fiancé have some privacy.
"She'll be fine," my wife said, more to reassure herself than me, I think. "I was going to take them inside, but when I got out there, I realized this Child was coming and she wasn't going anywhere. And you know something, Bartholomew? There was this... This sense of awe in the stable. I don't know how to describe it. I think even the animals could sense it."
At that moment we could hear the sounds of a newborn's cries piercing the night air.
"I'm going out there again. Let's see. I'll need some swaddling clothes, and maybe one of those new sheep skin blankets."
She returned a few minutes later. "Bartholomew, you must see this Child. There is something special about Him. I can't describe it. People from all over are coming to see this Child! Shepherds, townspeople, beggars; everyone seems drawn to Him."
Shepherds, huh? I had an idea. I didn't want them to recognize me, for fear that our first meeting had left a bit of a sour taste in their mouth. I found some cloth and made a makeshift shepherds outfit, then grabbed a staff. As I walked to the stable, I felt an overwhelming sense of peace, awe, and glory. I knelt down before the manger they had made into a bed for the wee Babe. I looked up at the mother. She winked at me, and whispered her thanks. She must have recognized me, despite my shepherd's garb. Maybe my distinct lack of an accompanying lamb gave me away.
Somehow, as I looked at the Babe, I knew. I don't know how, exactly, but I knew. "Is He... Is He the One?" I asked.
"What's His name?" I asked.
"Jesus." I began to quote the Scripture I had read so many times, as my wife joined me and knelt beside me. "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder:" I could hear other voices joining me in quoting the Scripture. "...and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." As we finished, I looked down at the Child. The Messiah. I wondered if He knew, even at this moment, who He was? As I looked down at Him and noticed how peaceful He looked as we recited the Scripture, I knew. Yes. He knew. He knew who He was.
My wife and I went back to the inn. As I was laying in bed, I was sure I could hear the angels singing His praises, and I couldn't help but join them. "Hallelujah. Christ is born!"
Scripture reference taken from Is. 9:6, KJV. Original capitalization, spelling, and punctuation have been preserved.