Historical setting: 561 C.E. Gaul
“Where would you look to find God’s own baby Jesus?”
Daniel answered, “I would ask Aunt Enola. She always goes to help where the new babies are.”
His answer draws smiles all around the table. Eve hides her smile bowing her head because the veils are drawn behind her now.
“So, Eve” I asked, “Where would you look to find baby Jesus?”
She’s heard this story before. “I would go straight to the animal shed.”
Daniel laughed and that ignited a spate of giggles from Celeste. Eve played with it. “I would say that baby would be wrapped up tight in baby rags and laid right there in the middle of the empty food trough for the beasts.”
We were all laughing then at the children’s laughing.
I affirmed it. “That’s what the shepherds saw when they found that baby – Mary the mother and the baby Jesus.”
Ezra added, “And there was that other guy there, Joseph who just kind of came along to pay the Roman taxes.”
The children didn’t enjoy that oddity as much. Colleta gave him an elbow and a scolding, “Who would think of taxes at time like this – except for Ezra?”
“Ezra remembers the story well.” I affirmed. “The whole thing starts out where Joseph and Mary went off to Bethlehem to be enrolled for the tax census during the reign of Caesar Augustus, when Quirinius was the governor of Syria.”
“See Colleta, I do know my Roman history of taxes; and furthermore that would mean Jesus weren’t born in the year they say Jesus were born, because Quirinius weren’t appointed governor until the year six. So that confuses everything doesn’t it Papa?”
“It’s that gospel thing again. It just sounds right, but then you find out things. So Ezra, my son, you are correct. And Joseph was there also to be the ‘rod and the stem’ of Jesse be it metaphor or anatomy. But it was the political message du jour. In that telling of it Jesus is supposed to be a Pharisee in the lineage of kings.”
“What does that matter?” Coletta asks.