I could feel myself bristling with irritation. What else? Amos looked down. He was twisting a piece of cloth in his hands. What kind of people would we be to turn them away? I suppose even we Benjaminites have learned a thing or two about hospitality. I placed six fat fragrant loaves on the stone in the oven, and stepped out to the well to wash my hands and face. Hannah, my eldest came running to me, a little out of breath.
She had been serving the guests in the great room. Hannah is a good girl, smart, and ready to be helpful.
But I have been dragging my feet. I placed my hand on her shoulder. Go to them, see what they need. My Hannah.
The Innkeeper’s Wife | Bechtel Sculpture Studio
I know I can depend on her. A few short minutes later she came running back. If Hannah felt it was urgent, I should listen to her. See to the guests in the great room. I ran to our closet and took an armful of soft cloths, and I went to the well for water. I ducked my head back into the kitchen.
THE TALE OF THE INNKEEPER'S WIFE
Not too hot. I took a good sharp knife from the table, and I was ready. As I headed towards the stable I was shaking my head. For the goodness and kindness of my husband, tonight I would be a midwife. This was a first. Not midwifing a birth—no woman gets to be my age in Bethlehem without standing in on a birth or two or ten. No, the first was—they were strangers.
It was in our stable. I said a quick prayer of thanksgiving that Amos and I had taught our boys to keep a tidy stable; I knew there would be fresh straw at least, for a bed for the mother. I stepped into the dim light. There was a lantern near the door, and another at the far end, which is where they were, the wife already lying on the ground with her back to the wall, the husband hovering nervously over her. I looked around at the animals… they were restless. They knew what was happening. Animals have unfailing instincts about birth and death, and they lend their sympathy to all creatures going through the great passages.
I approached, and I could see she was already in hard labor—she probably had been for some time. I smiled at the husband, in a way I hoped was reassuring.
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The wife—young thing, high color, grimacing with pain and trying as hard as she could not to make any noise—looked up at me with, not fear exactly, something more like—hope. The husband startled me by his insistence on staying, though I tried to shoo him out more than once.
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He seemed—very attached to his wife, which is always refreshing. At some point Hannah crept in with the basin of warm water. What happened next is what nearly always happens. The hard, hard work of bring a new life into the world. She was brave. Calloused, muscled. They are the hands of a stone mason. The screams have risen to a fever pitch. The young girl is out of her mind. Above a star has risen. Abnormally bright. Elsewhere, in the throne room of heaven, the Son of God rises from His throne and takes off His robe and the golden band about His chest.
He unbuckles His sword and leans it in the corner of His throne along with his diadem. Then He removes His priestly and kingly garb where it is folded by attending angels —each having three sets of wings. When finished, He stands naked save a loin cloth. Or the break at Pipeline. Finally, He takes off His crown and places it on the seat. The heavenly host — millions upon millions — bow at His feet, and yet…it is pin-drop quiet.
God the Father rises as His Son crosses the fiery stones. The time has come. On earth, the sons of Adam have lost their way. Each gone their own way. Things are bad. The entire human race has been taken captive and the enemy is torturing them. Not one of them will survive the night. Their freedom will cost the Son everything. A tear rolls down the face of the Ancient of Days.
The Son thumbs it away. Billions of faces shine across the timeline of history. He knows each by name. And declare to them Your Great Name.
The Son looks with longing at His home. He waves His hand across the timeline. Rev The Innkeeper returns as the cries of a baby pierce the night air. His lungs are strong. The Word made flesh. The young man exhales a breath he has been holding for a little over nine months. The hay beneath the young woman is a mess. The baby boy has entered the world in much the same way the nation of Israel left Egypt. Through blood and water. The animals look on. The rocks cry out.
The Innkeeper's Wife
Lk The young woman is exposed and the young man is uncertain as to his role. He has yet to know her. His heart is racing. She is exhausted. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end. But, it is a bittersweet moment because she knows well the words of both Isaiah and the Psalmist. How the Messiah will suffer. Be cursed.
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