Raoul’s Two Cents: December 15, 2023

The Witness

WARNING: Kinda Religious. Move on to the jokes if you’re not into this kinds stuff.

It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was a night like any other night. Me and my fellow shepherds were watching over our flock of sheep. Suddenly, a guy appeared out of nowhere. And he said:
Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

Art by Raoul Pascual

We were still figuring where did this guy came from when — vvvhooom!!!

Without warning, a bright light pierced the night sky. One guy screamed like a girlie girl! (Laughing) The others just let their jaws drop and left their tongues hanging. I raised my hands to shield my eyes. Squinting, I saw movement on top of me; the shapes slowly turned into strange people floating above us… lots and lots of them … wearing dazzling clothes.

Then they started to sing: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

Then, just as fast as they came, they were gone.

“Tell me I’m not dreaming. Did you just see what I saw? Hear what I heard? Are you as curious as I am? Should we check out what’s going on in that town of Bethlehem?”

We all ran down into the village to the familiar animal stalls. All the while I’m thinkin’: “This stinky place is where we will find the Christ? The hero who’s supposed to save mankind?” Sure enough, there they were — the father was gazing down that long wooden box where horses and cattle drink their water. Inside the manger was a new born baby crying softly. The mother was exhausted from the delivery and resting while the father was looking on at the helpless little guy.

The father was disoriented. He was startled to see us.

Are you the owners of this animal shed? I’m sorry for our intrusion. We just didn’t have any place to go and the baby was coming out. I looked around and there wasn’t anywhere clean to lay my wife down to deliver the baby so I used this water trough. We’ll leave as soon as my wife finds the strength to get up. But for now, please let me rest. I’m so so tired.” Sweat and tears rolled down his cheeks.

No, no, don’t worry about us,” I assured him, “we’re here because someone told us there was a baby born this evening and we wanted to verify that it was true.”

“What? Did you hear that Mary? Someone knew you were giving birth!?!?!”

Me and my friends took turns trying to explain what had happened out there in the fields. “I know this sounds weird and creepy but we’re telling you the truth. We were told to go here … why do you think we were told to go here?”

The man started to cry. “These past 9 months have been very difficult. I was told in a dream that I was to marry this woman. I was told the baby would be a boy and I was to name him ‘Jesus.’ I was told to travel 80 miles … I was told … I was told … I was never given a choice. Do you realize the doubts I carried? Part of me dismissed the whole absurd plan because it was all based on a silly dream. But listening to your encounters with the angels and your visit … this is a sign! This is the proof I needed.” He sobbed on my shoulder.

The woman was silent but with eyes opened wide, and she pondered these things in her heart.

“Why don’t you come to our home where you can get a decent rest?” So we helped them to our home where they stayed for a few days. Joseph and Mary adhered to Jewish tradition so after 7 days, they went through the ritual of purification (cleansing of the impure blood from the delivery which was akin to the impure blood in a menstrual cycle). As was the tradition, at the end of eight days, the child was brought to the temple where he was circumcised and formally given the name ‘Jesus.’ There they met Simeon and Anna who both confirmed that the child was indeed the Messiah they had waited for their whole lives.

MORE BEHIND THE SCENES

Some time later (it could have been weeks, months, but not more than 2 years), three distinguished men with their entourage arrived from the great unknown lands of the East (we can’t be certain where because few of us at that time traveled more than 10 miles from where we were born). Some say they came from the region of Iran or India or even China — who knows? They were dressed differently; talked differently … they obviously were educated because they navigated their way here by following the stars. Herod the Great heard about them and granted them safe passage. The strangers explained their mission to find the new born king; Herod had no clue what they were talking about. But when he heard the word “king,” daggers of hate and jealousy filled his devilish mind. He asked them to relay where the child lived under the pretense that Herod would also pay homage.

The three wise men were led to the child by a star (whatever that really was) to the house where the family lived. They gave their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrhh. Fortunately, the strangers were informed in a dream to avoid returning to Herod and they returned to the East using an alternate route.

Herod was fuming mad when he learned of their betrayal. Satan and his henchmen are powerful but they are not omniscient (all knowing) so once the word about the Messiah was out, their spiritual army connived to murder the child. Countless Bethlehem babies born at the same time plus a year older (for good riddance) were slaughtered.

Unbeknownst to Herod, days before the attack, Joseph was instructed in yet another dream to vacate the premises and he took his young family to Egypt where they hid until Herod’s death. History tells us that this evil Patriarch died of an excruciating intestinal disease, burning fever, ulcerated entrails, foul discharges, convulsions, stench (Antiquities 17.6.5) — God‘s wrath against Jesus’ first true enemy was evident.

Soon the young family returned to their real home in a Galilean town called Nazareth where the child grew strong filled with wisdom and was blessed and protected by God.

I’m just a lowly shepherd. I can’t explain why things happened the way they did but I know that this was the start of something big!

EPILOGUE

It’s already past midnight. Gotta send this email off without much editing. This story is based on my study but I obviously sprinkled a little drama to bring back the significance of the Christmas story that often gets lost in its repetitiveness. I encourage you to do your own research in the beginning chapters of the gospels of Matthew and Luke. Even though Christmas is a time of joy because we celebrate the birth of Christ, in reality there was quite a bit of dark nefarious activities. But thanks be to God for His protection. Joy and peace be with you! Merry Christmas!
And of course, this is just my opinion. TGIF people!

Raoul.

JOKE OF THE WEEK

Thanks to Donna of Texas

Original art by Raoul Pascual.

Videos of the Week:

Special Christmas Crying Edition

Thanks Ernie of Fresno, CA (some may think this is exploitation … perhaps).

Coke Commercial
Chevy Commercial

Parting Shots

Thanks to Bob of Placentia, CA

Thanks to Art of Sierra Madre. CA

I found these

The Traveling Boy

My good friend (and jokester) Terry and I came up with these.

SUBSCRIBE

8 Comments

  1. Oscar

    December 17, 2023 at 1:26 pm

    Awesome!

    Reply

  2. Jennifer

    December 17, 2023 at 1:27 pm

    Great witness Raoul.

    Reply

  3. Noel

    December 17, 2023 at 1:28 pm

    Delightful read Raoul.

    Merry Christmas Raoul!

    Reply

  4. Heather

    December 17, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    The story of His birth never gets old. If any of us could rewrite our lives I bet God would play be a bigger part in our lives. The fact that people have decided to take religion out of our every day lives is a tragedy. Religion should be your moral compass. It actually doesn’t ask for much and has 10 Commandments as guide lines. And… They’re simple to follow! Do the right thing! Over and out for now. Heather

    Reply

  5. Hilda

    December 17, 2023 at 1:29 pm

    Beautiful!

    Reply

  6. Tom

    December 17, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    Thanks Raoul , Love the intro. Tom

    Reply

  7. Lois

    December 17, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    Very clever. I’ve heard many versions of the Christmas story, and I think this is my favorite.

    Reply

  8. Betty from Australia

    December 18, 2023 at 7:22 pm

    Thank you….Merry Christmas, sir! 😊

    Reply

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