Friday, December 18, 2009

Diary of a Gentile Woman living in Bethlehem

Dear Diary,

It's year one, day seven BC. Me, I'm a gentile woman living in the small town of Bethlehem. Bethlehem is nestled on a ridge, between two mountain peaks, just 5 or 6 miles due south of Jerusalem. I have lived here on this ridge for forty seven years, which if you’re counting is all my life. Usually, our small city is a quiet, peaceful place. Except lately, not so quiet around here.

The city is buzzing right now with all the Jews returning to their ancestral cities to register for the census. Seems like every room around here is filling up with travelers. Shopping has become a long chore lately too, with all the people pouring in town. If I didn't already feel like an outsider before, I certainly do now. You see, I am a gentile woman living in a mostly Jewish community.

Although, I have lived here all my life, followed their God and Jewish law, they still don't consider me one of them. I am an outcast, a foreigner, a stranger in my own home. I wish it were different, that I could be accepted but I am not. I am not one of them, no matter what I believe.

Lately, the Jewish Pharisees have been standing out on the corner preaching the law. It's only to show their power and superiority but they do it so convincingly. Problem is they just keep adding more and more to the rules. Who can live up to and follow all of them.

I try, believe me I do. Even though I am a gentile living a Jewish community, I believe their God is the one and only. So I try and live to the letter of the law. But it is overwhelming at times.

Not sure what good it will do for them to count all the Jews in this census. Caesar has already imposed his Roman rule over us, why the census? Anyway, it sure has made the city a busy place to be.

Just today, in the center square I saw two shepherds sitting on the grass under a tree. Usually, they are out on the mountain with their herds. As I got a little closer, I realized they were not from around here. Hence them being in the center square like they were.

I heard just a snippet of their conversation and it caught my interest. So I moved in closer so I could hear them without being obvious. They were talking about the Messiah. One man was quoting scripture about the coming Messiah to the other.

It's not like I haven't heard the prophecies before. I've heard them since birth. Although I've heard them over and over, the funny thing is, they never stop fascinating me. I could hear them a million times but still want to hear them again. So I stayed a while, ease dropping, as these two men went through all the prophecies of the coming Messiah.

As I left, there was one that stuck in my mind and it kept rolling around in my head. It was from the prophet Micah. One of the men said something about the numbers 5 and 2. I'm not sure what the numbers meant. Anyway, I quoted it all the way home.

"But you, Bethlehem, Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet you shall come forth the Me, the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose going forth are from of old, from everlasting."

This prophecy always stands out to me because it talks about my little city, Bethlehem. I wonder, will my city really have something to do with the Messiah? Seems unlikely, but who knows... Never say never.

Gotta go for now, I've got chores to do. Have a great day. I'll see you tomorrow.

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