Tag Archives: Mary

The Christmas Interviews: The Guide

The Guide

The 2nd dream, Daniele Crespi, 1620-1630

Reporter: Lastly I  found  the guide Esme suggested I might talk with.

Welcome Shimon. You are a travel guide available for hire, and you have been taken on to lead the astrologer’s caravan?

Shimon: I take work where I can get it. I travel a lot so acting as a guide is one of my lines of work.

Reporter: But I understand you were taken on locally, you have not travelled with them before.

Shimon: Yes that’s right.

Reporter: Do you know why the astrologers hired a guide after arriving at their destination? It’s more usual to have a guide to get to a place.

Shimon: I can’t be sure why but they want a different route out of Israel to the way they came. They have specifically said that they want to avoid Herod’s palace. I was told they stopped there on the way to Bethlehem.

Reporter: And you’ve no idea why they wish to find a different way to return to their home?

Shimon: You must have heard the rumours around here, that Herod is looking for a child. Word has it that the child could take Herod’s throne when he grows. So I’m guessing that the astrologers know something of the child that they don’t want to tell Herod.

Reporter:  Thank you for your time, Shimon.

I wasn’t able to track down the couple with their child, Jesus. The last snippet of information I was able to pick up is that the parents may have taken him out of Israel, possibly making their way to Egypt, lending credence to the story Herod my be searching for them.

If anything new comes to light, we’ll bring it to you first. For now, goodbye.

The Shepherds
The Innkeeper’s Wife
The Wise Men’s Cook


The Christmas Interviews: The Wise Men’s Cook

The Wise Men’s Cook

The Magi Journeying by James Tissot c. 1890

Reporter: It took me a few more days to track down the “well dressed visitors”. They were not from the local area and by the time I found them, they had rejoined their caravan at a camp a little way outside Bethlehem. I wasn’t able to speak with the visitors to the baby personally but I with a little persuasion, a couple of members of their retinue agreed to speak with me.

First Esme, the caravan’s cook. Hello Esme. You’ve been with the caravan for the whole journey I understand?

Esme: Yes, all except when they visited a palace, King Herod’s I think, and here in Bethlehem. We had to camp outside while they went in to the palace and town.

Reporter: I understand your masters came from the East, just to see the child. What can you tell me about them and about the child?

Esme: I’ll tell you what little I can. They’re called Balthazar, Melchior and Gaspar. Melchior seems to be senior. They study the stars. Astrologers I think they call themselves, or maybe astronomers I’m not sure.

Reporter: And do you know what brought them to Bethlehem, Esme?

Esme: Mostly it’s just gossip and rumour but they apparently saw a conjunction forming in the stars. They’d predicted that the stars would coalesce over this town. They didn’t know the name of it until they got here, they just followed the stars. They thought it was some kind of portent.

Reporter: Do you know what they found when they arrived?

Esme: Again only gossip. They found a child, low born but they say he’s destined to lead the people, maybe even become a king.

One other thing, they hired a new local guide. You could try talking to him.

Reporter: Thank you for talking with me Esme.

The Shepherds
The Innkeeper’s Wife

The Christmas Interviews: The Innkeepers Wife

The Innkeeper’s Wife

Nativity at Night, by Geertgen tot Sint Jans, c. 1490.

Reporter: After the shepherds, I followed the story further by trying to speak with the innkeeper where the couple had asked for a room. He was out buying supplies to re-stock after his census guests had left. I was able to talk to his wife.

Hello Helene, thank you for talking with me. When did you realise something out of the ordinary was going on, and what can you tell us about the young couple that stayed in your stable?

Helene: We guessed something was happening when we saw the lights in the sky outside the town. I suppose everyone had probably seen them. Lots came out to look when they heard people shouting about it.

The couple asked my husband for a room but we were already full, because of the census. I couldn’t see them pushed away, she was so heavily with child. I suggested the stable to my husband, at a reduced rate of course.

Reporter: We heard from a shepherd that the baby was born in your stable, and was named Jesus. Can you tell us his parents’ names?

Helene: They were called Mary and Joseph, from Nazareth I think. I felt sorry for her having travelled so far in her condition. He was a carpenter.

Reporter: Was there anything special or out of the ordinary about them?

Helene: I didn’t see anything at the time. Later after the unexpected visit of the shepherds I began to wonder about them.

I took them some fresh water the next morning. It was just an excuse really; I wanted to see the baby. He’s a lovely little chap. There seemed to be an aura of calm and peace about him.

Reporter: You’ve told us about the shepherds, were there any other visitors?

Helene: Lots of people came asking about the couple and their child. They were coming for days after Mary, Joseph and Jesus had left. It was getting annoying.

Was there anyone you particularly noticed amongst the visitors?

Helene: Most were ordinary folks, like you and me. A few oddballs but there was one small group I particularly remember.

Three foreign gentlemen enquired about the young family. Very well dressed, in expensive clothes. They had camels with them. You don’t often see that in Bethlehem. They just watered their camels and bought a few supplies before leaving. I told them that after the young couple left, they’d rented a house somewhere nearby, but I wasn’t sure where.

Reporter:  Thank you Helene.


Previous:  The shepherds.

The Christmas Interviews: The Shepherds

The Shepherds.

Adoration of the Shepherds Bartolomé Esteban Murillo c. 1657

Reporter: As the crowds begin to thin, making their way home after Caesar’s census, I followed up a story of lights over a field outside of Bethlehem. Far from being an isolated incident as was first assumed, it led on to a series of connected events. I have tried to piece them together, by interviewing people involved that I have been able to trace.

The description of lights in the sky first led me to a group of shepherds a little way outside the town of Bethlehem, sheltering with their flock for the night.

Hello Jose, thank you for agreeing to tell our readers what you saw. What was it that alerted you that something out of the ordinary was happening?

Jose: It was a brightening of the sky, well before dawn. At first just a bright point of light. Then it grew and took on a human shape. Well almost human except he had wings.

Reporter: Wings! That seems unusual.

Jose: It surprised us but we saw it as clearly as I saw you. We all saw it. It was scary

Reporter: Go on, what happened next?

Jose: The angel said not to be afraid, that he had brought a message from God. He told us that a child, a saviour for us and for everyone had been born, and that we should go to him.

Reporter: Did he say where to find the child.

Jose: Only that we would find the child in a stable. He wasn’t very good with his directions but said we’d find him ok. Then a few moments later, a swarm, if that’s the right word, appeared behind the first angel. They were singing praises to God. Then they all disappeared, just sort of faded away.

Reporter: So did you go to try to find the child?

Jose: After we discussed it yes. We checked on our sheep then went into town. Bethlehem is small, it didn’t take too much asking around to find the stable. It was at the side of an inn.

Reporter: Did you go in? What did you find?

Jose: We found a young couple, with a baby boy, in a manger just like the angel said. He was asleep and his mum looked really tired and we couldn’t leave the sheep for long, so we didn’t stay long. There was something about him. He looked like any other baby but there was a feeling. Calmness, peace. A feeling I won’t forget. He’s called Jesus.

Reporter: And his parents, who are they?

Jose: I never heard. Maybe one of the others knows.

Reporter: Thank you Jose.

Jesus Wept

But who were the tears for?

The Raising Of Lazarus By Vincent van Gogh

It is related to us in John 11: 1-44,  that after Jesus was told that Lazarus, brother of Mary & Martha, was ill, that he did not go immediately to them in Judea; He stayed another 2 days in Jerusalem. Upon His arrival, we learn that Lazarus was already dead had been interred four days earlier. It seems then , from the timeline we are presented with, it was almost a week after being told about Lazarus, before Jesus went to see the ones’ he loved.

When Jesus arrived in Judea, He wep(John 11: 35) at the news of Lazarus’ death; but why?

Jesus knew that the power of the Father, through the Holy Spirit could resurrect Lazarus. Knowing this, it seems unlikely His tears were for Lazarus, so who were they for? Might they be tears of shame, that he allowed not only the suffering of Lazarus until death but also the suffering of Mary and Martha, all of which He could have prevented.

Perhaps His tears were for Mary and Martha, for what they had endured, after all untill He called Lazarus from the Tomb, they probably thought He’d let them all down.

Maybe it was because He new the resurrection of Lazarus would be in vain. Maybe he knew that Lazarus woud be executed in the future by the Pharisees (John 12: 10). He might have been hoping his delay would save Mary and Martha from even more pain and suffering, but when He got there emotion took over and He felt compassion for Mary and Martha and compelled to do something.

We’ll never know. I just offer a possibility.

Interview With Mary Magdalene

Christ and Mary Magdalene by Rembrandt

Something a little different from me, so I hope you like the audio post that follows this introduction.

As with all my posts, the script is entirely by me. With thanks to my friend Jenny, who provided the voice of Mary Magdalene in the recording.

I present a fictional news interview with Mary Magdalene, set outside Jerusalem on what is now Easter Sunday.


Intercession Prayer for Sunday 2nd April 2017

The Fifth Sunday of Lent.

Father God, young or old, rich or poor, we are all Your children. You welcome us into your home, so let us extend that welcome on Your behalf to those we reach in the name of Your son, Jesus Christ. We offer this prayer in His name.

Our Prime Minister has notified the European Union of Britain’s intent to withdraw. We pray that negotiation of departure be conducted with honesty and good will. May our separate futures be in peace, prosperity and harmony.

Though we chose a different path, Father let us remain welcoming to European citizens who chose to make their home here. Give us wisdom to see the benefits they bring to our wellbeing and prosperity.

We pray for everyone undertaking an initiative or challenge during this Lent. Support them in their efforts, guide and bless them through the lenten time.

John says Jesus shed tears with Mary and Martha as they grieved the death of their brother, Jesus’ friend Lazarus. Father God we ask that you strengthen anyone grieving today for the death of someone they loved. Support them by Your Holy Spirit as they adjust to their changed circumstances and life.

Today especially we pray for the souls of the 24 dead, their families and more than 70 injured by the terrorist bomb on Friday in Parachinar, in Pakistan.

Healing Father who cares for everyone unwell or in pain, we pray that in Your wisdom You comfort and strengthen them. Guide those who will care for them.

Father in Heaven, forgive what we have done that gave you sadness, and those things we should have done that would have brought you joy. Send Your Holy Spirit to guide us to bring Joy by Creating Connections with those who do not know you.

Merciful Father, accept these prayers for the sake of Your son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.


Download and print this prayer.