(you could start here before you continue…)
The star kept steady in the sky and the Three Kings pressed on. Jerusalem was a noisy place, the streets were narrow but full of batembeyi. Roast maize, grass hoppers, sesame nuts (or simsim if you like) and kikalayi were in plenty at this time. Pharisees were in plenty on street corners rebuking and telling people to be like them. Goats and sheep could also be seen, being led by shepherds going out of the city to find pastures.
It would be rare to see any old men in this busy place but then there was one who always made his way through the city to go to the temple to pray. He was old but his eyes could still see well. A devout student of the books of his fathers, he always spoke of a coming messiah, of a light to reveal God’s will to the Gentiles and bring glory to God’s people Israel.
Simeon and God were homies. Often they would talk but mostly about Israel’s salvation. As he went to the temple, thoughts were going through his mind:
“When is the coming salvation? How we have groaned and waited upon you O Lord?”
He was growing older by the day and surely soon he would have to go to his fathers but how he had longed to see this salvation.
“Yes!” He said as he turned around to look for who it was that had called him.
No one seemed to be calling him, everyone was minding his business.
“Simeon. You are loved and favoured by your God.”
When he heard this, He knew who was talking.
“Salvation is coming to Israel. The child will be born soon.”
“Where? So that I can go and see Him.”
“Simeon, are you not blessed? Soon you will see this salvation. Soon you will see Him. Worry not. You will see Him.”
“I am old my Lord, but I shall be sure in your promise that I will see Him.”
He waited to hear if the voice would continue but it had stopped. Simeon’s heart was racing. His eyes were teary. The Messiah was to be born soon! He continued to the temple to give praise and honour. He would see the King! He would see the child! He would see the salvation!
The star was always shining bright.
“Never have the stars spoken so clearly! The light keeps shining and it’s rays pointing as if to an exact place.”
The Kings nodded in agreement.
“We do not need King Herod’s directions it seems. He looks a little too interested in the birth of a new King. Wouldn’t most Kings want a new King dead?”
“Nay, this is a messiah. Even King Herod would want to look upon this child! To be saved! Don’t you think?”
“Maybe, but still, something about him is droll.”
They had stopped to rest for a while, the journey was still long. The first King reached into the sack on his camel and opened it revealing glittering gold. He wondered if this would be honourable enough but with a smile, knew it would be just right. Was there a crown without gold? Would any King boast in greatness without a crown of gold? Can a King be one without a crown of gold?
He replaced it and continued to look at the star.
Herod tossed and turned in his large bed. The silk of the sheets was not comforting him tonight. His sweat had made them uncomfortable.
“Silk”. He muttered.
“Silk is made for the comfort of Kings! Not for commoners born in small towns like Bethlehem!”
He got up and went to the window. Outside the star was moving farther but never dimmer.
“Goddamn!” He barked.
“But I will kill him. I will kill that baby!
Far away, Mary and Joseph could now see where they were going; the little town, Bethlehem. The census was taking place and Joseph had to come to Bethlehem, it being the birthplace of his descendant King David. King David, the boy who slew a giant- this was his birthplace.
It was not a long way off, but long enough for a pregnant woman not to be hurried. So their journey continued.
Mary was already feeling the soft kicks of the baby who had been in the womb 8 months and 3 weeks. She was excited and thankful. God had surely been gracious. She was still unmarried but was expecting a baby. Joseph did not leave her, he had stood by her through all the 8 months but more importantly during the days when she told him she would have a baby.
That night was the hardest. She had received the news from the angel gladly yet after he was gone, she immediately thought of Joseph. Would he still marry her? Would he even look her in the face? How would she tell him it was God’s power not another man?
But she had prayed and God had heard. Now she was here with Joseph, going to Bethlehem; and the little child was now getting ready to come out. Bethlehem would surely be His birthplace; he would surely be the “Son of David”.
….to be continued.
kikalayi- chips sold on the street side and fried in wide pans called “bikalayi”.
May God bless all this week.