Many of us have heard the Nativity Story over and over again, to where we’ve lost the awe and wonder, along with the emotional rollercoaster, of those who witnessed the miraculous birth. This fictionalized account is set in a modern setting to help us rediscover the dynamics of the actual, historical event.
Micah gunned his motorcycle and roared into the Lazy T Campground located a few miles from Bethlehem. His riding mates, Zeke, Ezra, and Amos rumbled in behind. He pulled into a parking space and headed to the check-in office. His mates stayed with the bikes.
In the office Micah pulled a paper out of his wallet and handed it to the woman behind the desk. “I have reservations for two adjoining campsites.
“I’m sorry, sir, but we only have one campsite under this number.”
Micah glanced at the woman’s name tag. “But Sarah, I reserved two sites.”
“Yes sir, I’m sure you did. But with the government’s mandated tax censes, almost everyone is traveling this week. We’re under temporary orders to allow only one campsite per reservation.”
Micah sighed. “Orders from the government?”
Sarah nodded. “Our overflow area is filled to double capacity and shut down several hours ago. You’re fortunate to have a campsite.”
Micah grunted. “Our elected officials must have a few screws loose. In this age of electronic transfers and checking accounts, only politicians would demand that taxes be paid in person and in the town of one’s birth. I wonder what the folks born overseas do.”
Sarah shrugged. “This is my hometown, but for the past fifteen years I’ve lived over in Tel Bar and work at the Lazy T Campground there. Fortunately the gal who normally works here is from Tel Bar. So we traded places and houses for the entire week. That way neither of us loses any pay and we have a place to stay.”
Micah nodded. “You’re lucky. Me and my mates had already used up our vacation before the tax was announced. Now we have to take four days off without pay, plus fork over the cost of travel expenses.”
“Everyone’s having a rough time.” Sarah pulled up Micah’s reservation on the computer, then picked up a map of the campground and circled one of the sites. “Here’s your campsite, number 72. Follow this road past the bath house. Take the first right and it’s the tenth site on the left. Since we couldn’t give you the two sites as requested, we gave you one of our more private sites in our primitive camping section.”
“Appreciate your help, Sarah.” Clutching the map, Micah nodded good bye and strode out to his mates. “Our campsite is down this roadway.”
“Site?” Ezra paused before mounting his bike. “As in single site?”
Micah nodded and slipped on his helmet. “Yep, but it’s in the primitive section and very private.
“I thought you reserved two?”
“I did, but—”
“Ezra, don’t complain, ” Zeke said. “I heard there are practically no vacancies anywhere in the whole country.”
Amos snorted. “And creating a dream situation for thieves, with most homes and apartment empty of occupants.”
“Not exactly.” Zeke chuckled. “Those would-be thieves have to pay taxes, too. And many have to travel out-of-town themselves.”
“Cut the chatter.” Ezra mounted his bike. “I’m tired after riding all day. Where’s our campsite?”
“Follow me.” Micah started his bike and led the way to site 72. The four men coasted into their camping spot and parked their bikes.
“Not bad.” Zeke’s eyes scanned over the area. “This place has a good size clearing for our tents and it is very private with all these trees.”
“It’s getting dark.” Amos unstrapped a tent and tossed it onto the ground. “Let’s get the tents pitched before we lose all daylight. Zeke, us three can set up the tents. You go and find some dry branches in these woods to start a campfire. ”
Before long, two tents stood in the clearing and a fire blazed in the fire ring. The evening cooled as the darkness set in. Zeke and Ezra picked up the site’s wooden picnic table and carried it closer to the fire.
Amos rummaged through the duffle bag packed with their food. “If someone can fill the water pot, I’ll fix us a pack of this dehydrated food.” He pulled out large packet. “Is mesquite BBQ chicken with beans and rice okay?”
“Sounds great but cook two packets. We’re all starved.” Zeke walked over to one of the tents and tossed in two sleeping bags. “Hey Micah, go fill our pot with water.”
Micah studied the campground map to find the closest water spigot, then grabbed the water pot and took off down the road. He gazed into the night sky. The stars seem to be shining brighter than usual. Must be the chilly night air.
Arriving at the spigot, he thrust the pot under the faucet and turned on the water. As the pot filled, the area around Micah grew brighter and brighter. He looked up and jumped back. The half-filled pot clattered to the ground.
A man, at least it looked somewhat like a man, hovered above Micah. A soft, glow radiated from him and warmed the air.
Micah’s knees went weak but he managed to stay standing. “Who…who are you?”
“I am a messenger from the Most High and bring good news.”
Micah snatched up the water pot and raced back to the campsite, gasping for breath and feeling shaky all over. Zeke walked over and Micah shoved the empty, dripping pot into his hands. “Here, you go get the water.”
“What’s the matter, mate?” Zeke started laughing. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”
“Maybe…maybe that’s what it was, a ghost.”
Amos and Ezra stared at Micah.
“You saw a ghost?” Amos asked.
Micah hesitated. “I don’t really know. It looked like a…like a…glowing man floating in the air.”
Ezra snorted. “Did you fall off the wagon, mate? I thought you gave up that stuff.”
“Oh, stop it!” Zeke glared at Ezra. “Micah is really shaken up.”
“It’s been a long, tiring day.” Amos yawned. “A hot meal will help us all feel better.”
“I’ll fetch us some water.” Zeke took off and soon returned.
Micah looked up as Zeke walked back into the campsite. Before he could ask, Zeke answered his unspoken question.
“No, I didn’t see anything glowing or floating in the air. “Micah, we’re all stressed out over this tax business. Plus we’ve had two days of hard riding.”
Amos nodded. “And we’re tired and hungry. That’s enough to make anyone see all kinds of weird stuff. After a hot meal and a good night’s sleep, we’ll all feel better in the morning.”
Zeke rummaged through the food stuff. “I threw in the fixin’s for s’mores but can’t find the chocolate bars. Which one of you ate them?”
Amos walked over. “Here they are, next to the graham crackers. Micah sees things that aren’t there and now you can’t see things that are there.”
Micah laughed along with the others. As he ate supper and roasted a few s’mores, the fright from the glowing visitor slowly faded into nothingness.
After supper they used a couple of logs as benches and sat around the campfire drinking hot coffee. Micah leaned back and gazed into the night sky. “Hey, take a look at that weird star hanging over the horizon. Never saw one like that before.”
Ezra held out his hand. “Seems almost close enough to touch.”
“That’s strange.” Zeke turned away from the fire. “The star seems to be lighting up our entire campsite.”
“It’s not a star.” Amos’s voice quivered. “Micah’s floating friend has returned.” He pointed off to his left. “And he’s coming our way.”
Micah froze, along with the others as the shining man grew brighter and came closer.
A deep voice pierced the stillness of the moment. “Do not be afraid. I have been sent by the Most High and bring good news of great joy for all people. For tonight the promised Savior, God’s own son was born.”
In an instant the sky resounded with music as thousands of shimmering beings appeared, singing praises to God. Then they faded into the heavens and all became quiet as the night sky returned to normal.
Amos broke the silence with a whisper. “Angels, they were angels.”
Zeke nodded. “Wow, what a privilege to have seen that. Do you guys realize that God Himself chose to give us this message?”
“Amazing.” Ezra stood and motioned to the others. “We have to find this special baby, tonight.”
Micah stood up and headed for his bike. “And we must go now. It’s strange that God’s son would be born in a tent behind a bed and breakfast. That’s no place for a newborn.”
“I agree, but that’s where the angel said we’d find the baby.” Amos mounted his bike. “Anyone know where Baird’s Bed and Breakfast is located?”
“Give me a moment.” Zeke unsheathed his phone. “I’ll look up the address and get directions.”