I've been trying to find a way to convey the story of Jesus' birth to my daughters. I think at their ages, just reading the Bible verses would be too hard for them to understand. I came across this interpretation and decided to share it with the girls (and you).
I plan on printing this and reading it to the girls. Hopefully it won't be too long and they'll get the meaning of it. I thought it was a great way to share the story of Jesus' birth.
"The Greatest Gift of All"
By Jennifer Leigh Edwards
(The Story of the Birth of Jesus)
A long, long time ago, in a town very far away, there was a man named Joseph who dearly loved a young lady named Mary. Mary had been told by God that she would be the mother of a very special baby boy. She was so excited! She just couldn't wait to hold her baby in her arms. She would make clothes for the baby, and Joseph, being a good carpenter, would make things the baby would need, like a cradle and special, child-sized furniture. They anxiously awaited the birth of their new son. It seemed that the day just couldn't come soon enough.
One day they received news that the king wanted everybody to be counted. He didn't want to just count all the people in one town, or two towns, or even three towns. He wanted to count all the people in the entire kingdom. And the king didn't think it would be good enough to simply go from house to house to determine how many people there were. No, he wanted every person to go back to the town in which they were born in order to be officially counted.
Mary and Joseph busily packed their clothes and other necessary items for their long journey. No one had cars or any type of vehicles back in those days, but they did have a donkey to help carry their load. Sometimes they would walk on the dusty roads, and sometimes Mary would ride on the donkey to rest her sore feet. Day after day, night after night, they kept moving. When nighttime came, they would try to find a room at an inn, so they could get a good night's sleep. But sometimes, since so many people were being forced to travel, it just wasn't possible to find a room, because all the rooms were taken.
It was a very long, very dusty, very tiring trip. Finally one night, they saw the small lights off in the distance. "We are almost there," Joseph told Mary. Then they started to go slightly faster. "What a beautiful city Bethlehem is from here!" Mary exclaimed. "I wonder if it is just as beautiful inside?"
Once inside the city gates, Joseph tried to get a room at the inn. Unfortunately, the inn keeper had to turn them down. "I'm sorry," he said. "There just aren't any more rooms."
"But we have been traveling for days, and we are so tired. Are you sure there is no place for us to stop and get some rest?" Joseph asked as calmly as he could. It was getting very late and he was getting quite frustrated, but he tried to be kind and patient.
Seeing the problem and feeling compassion, the inn keeper said, "Well, there are still no rooms, but I could offer you the stable." Now, a stable is actually a barn. It's a place the inn keepers kept the animals that were traveling with his guests. It wasn't a very good place to sleep. There were no beds, and it had a bad smell because of the variety of animals, but it was a shelter where they could lie down for the night.
Joseph thanked the inn keeper for his kindness and led the donkey to the the stable. Mary gathered piles of straw to make a semi-comfortable bed. They laid down for the night and were finally able to sleep.
But, suddenly, Mary woke up. She turned to awaken Joseph. "What is it?" Joseph asked sleepily. "I think the baby is coming tonight!" Mary said with excitement. Joseph bolted upright, forgetting how sleepy he was.
That night the special baby that had been promised to them was born. Mary cried for joy and cuddled him closely. Joseph took his turn holding the little baby. They didn't take long to decide what they were going to name the baby, because God had already told them the name. Joseph held the baby up and said "His name will be JESUS."
They wrapped him in a soft cloth to keep him warm, and Mary made a bed of straw in the manger, which was usually used for the hay that the cows eat. What a wonderful night it was there in the small stable! Baby Jesus, the GREATEST GIFT TO THE WORLD, was born that night.
I wish you a blessed and joyful Christmas. My prayer for you is to be safe and remember those less fortunate than yourselves. Even at our lowest times, there is always someone in a worse situation than us. Peace be to all of us!