Jonah's snores made Jez smile. "He was tired tonight; he needs this rest. But I will still wake him at the appointed hour. I need rest, too!" The watch leader's thoughts went back to his ancestor David.
"I know that I am but a simple man. I am not a psalmist. I don't play the harp and I don't write great poetry. But have I not used my staff to chase away a wolf? And didn't I send a black bear running down the hillside when I winged him with a stone from my sling?" The memory added to his discouragement.
"I have been faithful, Eternal! Have I not done this work that I despise and cared well for the flock? Please, O Mighty One, rescue me from this field. Or give me an understanding of Your purpose for me here."
Then, from deep in his memory came the familiar words...
"The Eternal is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He makes me lie down in green meadows; He leads me beside a gentle stream. He keeps restoring my soul. He leads me along a righteous path so that I may bring His name honor. Yes, even though I walk through the dark valley overshadowed with death, I fear no evil, for You, Eternal, are with me! It is Your staff that protects and comforts me. You have prepared a feast before me; one that even my enemies notice. You have poured the anointing oil of Your purpose upon my head. My cup is overflowing! Truly, Your goodness and lovingkindness shall trail me every day of life and, when I am through, I will be with You forever!"
"Could it be," though Jezreel, "that the Eternal truly has poured out His oil and has a purpose for me? If so, what is my purpose?"
To my readers: the events surrounding the birth of Christ are given extensive coverage in Scripture. The parts we don't always know about are the human elements, especially from the viewpoint of Jesus' participants. My attempt this Christmas is to stay true to the Biblical text, while shading in what it may have been like "between the lines." Please distinguish my ruminations from God's Word by reading the first few chapters of Matthew and Luke. My hope is that reading my words impacts you even a tiny percentage as much as writing them has impacted me.