The Village Rabbi Worries by James Clarke

“I really wish I could have gone with them. I know I could have helped them.
I can’t, I have to register here for this awful Roman census, unlike Joseph I have no royal
blood. There are no exceptions, so the two of them set off days ago. Joseph patiently
walking along while Mary perched (uncomfortably I am sure) on a peaceful donkey. Mary is
so close to delivering the child, I fear that the risk is very great. Yes I do know the truth, and
trust that God in his great goodness will protect them, and his own son, even at the hands of
our Roman masters.

I have known them both all their lives, Mary’s family is very faithful and are devout servants
of God, as is Joseph himself. He is very good man, kind and generous, a splendid craftsman
who will help anyone out. I know that there are families he has helped, and they never
received a bill for his work. You should see the toys and carts he makes for the children,
using bits left over from his jobs – they are just as well made as his finest furniture, he just
loves teaching children about wood, and what you can do with it…a lovely man, and a wise
and good choice for the path God is asking him to follow.

Mary is a special woman, I think of them setting off, and I see a serenity and calm about her,
as he fussed about the saddle, and her back, and wrapping her up warm and safe on the docile
animal! There is also a trace of that inner light which transformed her when she heard the
news. May God bless them both, and keep them safe.. I believe they are to stay with relatives
near Bethlehem. I gave them a little money from our funds to help then find places to stay –
but it wasn’t much for such a long journey – I do wish I could have gone with them…

Mary, yes, mature beyond her years, very knowledgeable about the Scriptures, I taught her to
read the sacred scrolls, (I know strictly I shouldn’t) I think Isaiah is her fondest read…. Her
devotion to serve God, even before this divine intervention, is very deep, and her personality
made me wish many times she could be a Rabbi, to take my place when God calls me to him.
But she is a woman, so that was not possible, and now God has given her this incredible duty
to bear and bring up His own Son, to be our Blessed Messiah. I didn’t ever go along with the
usual stories about a soldier Messiah, to lead the charge to drive out the hated Romans,
(before that it was the Greeks…) but I had no idea this would be how He, Blessed be His
name, would bring us a Saviour. Truly, our generation, and my village of Nazareth, is greatly
blessed by these events! How will the world know who the child is? God will show him in
His good time, I am sure…

But I am an old man, and rambling on! How I wish I was with them! I pray that God will
guard them, and that they will be surrounded by friends who will keep them safe from
robbers and the like…

I do also pray, that God will be good to me, and let me see his son, and maybe be part of
guiding him in the Scriptures, or will he know them already? I wonder? I wonder?

Peace be upon them both, on them all, and may they return safe, perhaps with the child, if so
may her delivery be as comfortable as possible….how will God tell the world who He is? I
wonder… “A young woman will be with child, and will give birth to a son, and will name
him Emmanuel” – Emmanuel, God is with us! Surely, surely, this is a fulfilment of Isaiah’s
words? Hallelujah! Blessed be God, indeed!

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