A Lot Can Happen In Just Three Days

The Son is Always There
Photo by Sherri Woodbridge

It was three days later. Three days after they had laid him behind the stone that everyone said would take at least six men to move, most likely more.

Three days after he had told his closest friends he would be back. Three days after his would-be, so-called followers asked for his blood to pay for crimes he didn’t commit.

Three days. A lot can happen in three days but in this town not much was happening. People were quiet. Afraid. Despairing. Hopeless. In hiding. Unaware.

Quiet for the uproar had subsided. It was believed the cause was now gone. But, a lot can happen in three days no matter how quiet it may seem.

People were afraid. Afraid of what might or never might be. Afraid of being connected. Afraid of being disconnected. But – a lot of connection can be lost but a lot of connection can also be restored in just three days.

People were in despair and void of hope. Despairing over what they had once hoped for because what they had once hoped for now seemed forever gone. But – despair can give birth to hope and hope can give birth to life in just three days.

People feared for their lives, afraid of being put to death for something they once thought would save them. They were unaware of what was happening in those three days.

Three days and the One who gave hope that led to despair had other plans that third day. Plans other than watching three devoted women prepare a body for burial. Three women who were making their way to a tomb that no longer held the One which they sought. Three women who walked quietly. Three women who seemed to have misplaced their hope. Three women who stopped, cheeks wet from fresh fallen tears, to discuss how they were going to move the stone just yards before them. The stone that covered the entrance to the tomb where the body of their beloved laid. The body they had come to prepare for burial.

Fresh tears fell again for though they are ready to prepare the body of the one they love, the three women are unprepared in strength and all their pondering won’t help. They know they cannot move the stone. Still, they step those extra feet, one foot in front of the other, and they approach the tomb.

The stone is not there.

The tomb is open.

As Dr. David Jeremiah said in so many words, have you ever wondered if the stone had not necessarily been opened for the Beloved to walk out of but for us to step into? For us to see that He was not there? For us to see such a miracle for ourselves? The miracle of the empty tomb?

The women listened to the angel who stood waiting at the entrance of the tomb. Three women who had spent their morning walking a quiet, sorrowful journey to do a grievous task. Waiting to give them cause to renew their faith and a reason to dispel their fears.

For three days they had wept. For three days they were lost, alone, and despairing. But then came the third day and instead of finding a body waiting for burial, they found hope anew in an empty tomb. Hope that beckoned them to come, see for themselves that what their Beloved tried to make them understand days, weeks, months earlier – it had now come to pass.

Death could not defeat Him. Hell could not hold Him back. Fear was conquered through faith and despair was laid to waste through death. It was finished.

A lot can happen in just three days.

A Baby Changes Everything

 

image“It’s time,” God told Gabriel, one of His chief angels. “Joseph needs to know. He’s beginning to fret over the news about Mary and needs to know that what she’s telling him is real.”

“Do you want me to take Michael?” Gabriel asked the Lord.

“No, this mission is for you alone. Go to Joseph while he sleeps and tell him what the plan is. Then he will find peace within. Go right away. There are many steps to this plan and timing is critical.”

“Yes, my Lord.”

And Gabriel was off. He found Joseph snoring, deep asleep in his bed. Gabriel debated whether to wipe the drool from Joseph’s chin or not and thought better of it. You never know how a grown man will react when being awakened by a stranger.

As Gabriel stood beside Joseph, he saw a picture of Mary on Joseph’s nightstand and remembered that innocent, young face from delivering a message to her, not long ago. What a privilege he felt, to be a part of such a plan that would change the world.

Joseph’s breathing got quiet and he started mumbling and Gabriel knew this was the time to speak to him.

“Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to take Mary as your bride, because what’s going on with her is God’s plan. She is going to have a son. Name him Jesus when he is born because he’s going to be the one to save his people from their sins.”

Joseph stirred and when he opened his eyes, Gabriel was gone.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Mary and Joseph married earlier than they had planned, Joseph now being on board with God’s plan with Mary.

She had been visiting her cousin Elizabeth for several months before she and Joseph married and as soon as their house was put into order, Mary’s time to deliver the little wonder growing inside of her was soon due. That’s when they got the news.

Joseph was being called to Bethlehem for a census being taken that year of those belonging to the line of his great great great great grandfather, about 28 generations removed, King David. They arose early one morning to beat the morning rush and afternoon heat. It helped somewhat, but in Mary’s condition, the travel was hard and slow and seemed like one steady stream of donkeys and families after another. She was beginning to feel that she was further along than she had thought. And so, what would have normally taken Joseph four days to journey between their home town in Nazareth to Bethlehem where, they were to register, took them a good seven days.

Mary was exhausted when they pulled into town. The donkey was exhausted. Joseph couldn’t relax until he found some shelter because he knew his wife was not feeling her best.

She sat on a bench under the cool shade of a tree while Joseph went inside the inn to get a room. She saw him come back out, apparently rattled.

“There are no vacant rooms.”

“That’s okay. We can go somewhere else.”

“That might be a problem. The guy at the counter told me there are no vacancies anywhere. Everyone’s in town for the census and hotels are booked solid. We should have made reservations.”

“Joseph,” Mary said, her face contorting unnaturally, “I hate to tell you this, but” she winced, “I think I’m going to have this baby tonight.”

“What can I do? Tell me what to do. I don’t know what to do,” he said.

“Joseph,” she smiled, her contraction passing. “It’s okay, but we have to find a place somewhere.”

“I’ll be right back. Surely someone can help.”

He ran back to the inn and was soon back again.

“The clerk at the desk said we can stay in his stable. He just cleaned it out today.”

“Fresh hay. That’ll have to do.”

Joseph led her to the back of the inn where they found the stable. At least this way they were all together – just he, his wife, and Jed, their donkey.

Spreading some blankets down he had taken out of the packs off the mule, he helped Mary get settled in one of the back stalls, where hopefully they would have a little more privacy. “Are you okay? Can I do anything? Tell me what you need.”

She laughed. “It’s okay, Joe,” she said tenderly. “My cousin Elizabeth told me what to expect. I was there when she had little John. We’ll do fine.”

He kneeled next to her. “Give me something to do,” he said softly. “I want to help you, however I can.”

She smiled while waiting for another contraction to pass and then, looking around said, “Over there – get that trough and we can use that for his cradle. It’s not as beautiful as the one you made for him, but it’ll do.”

Joseph did as his wife asked, filled it with fresh hay and covered it with a soft blanket. And then they waited. One contraction passed after another, getting closer together, and a few hours later, Mary was holding the son of God in her arms.

She and Joseph lay there on the hay, the beautiful, small, bald baby boy in between them. Mary cradled him under her arm. “Isn’t he the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?”

“Look how tiny his toes are,” Joseph awed.

The baby opened his eyes and looked about.

“Hey, little guy,” Joseph said, clearly stepping into his new role. “I’m gonna sort of be your dad for a while, okay?”

“Can you imagine Joseph? Did you ever think you’d be looking into the eyes of God?” Mary asked softly.

“No, Mary. I can’t really say I did.”

And little could they imagine just what God had planned for the years yet to come.