“Not until it’s safe for the child,” I reply. For months I had watched for Denny’s return to the market. I felt like I owed him the rest of the story. “So what do you think?”
“I don’t know. Most folks think I’m this hard-nosed trader, always looking for a way to skin the other guy. But I spend a lot of time on the road, a lot of time thinking about life. I’ve come to agree with King Solomon – there’s nothing new under the sun, all is vanity, a chasing after the wind. But this Bethlehem business doesn’t seem to fit.”
“That’s a pretty brief summation of a whole book. You left out the part about there being a time for everything, perhaps this is a new time?” I suggest.
“I might disagree if I hadn’t seen some of it with my own eyes. Angels, prophecies, magi. Something is changing.” Denny responds.
“Something is changing, and it revolves around the child born in the stable.” I add.
“So Squint, did you publish anything from your trip to Bethlehem?”
“I did get one story, but I won’t tell you unless you tell me something first.”
“Okay, what is it?” Denny asks.
“Why do you call me Squint?”
“Oh, that’s simple, you’re always squinting around, looking into things. Like this baby thing, it started with a shepherd that knocked me over and muttered something about an angel. You look into it and discover not just a shepherd, but, a baby. And, not just a baby, but the long promised Messiah that angels declared and magi sought out. So are you going to keep looking, keep squinting, for the child?”
“My editor isn’t interested, so officially no. He says there are already too many stories about people claiming to be the messiah. I tried to remind him about the angels; he didn’t buy it. It will probably be years from now but, if the child is the Messiah of God we won’t be able to ignore him. And when he does show himself, I’ll be there.”
Denny nods in agreement, “so, what story did you publish?”
Putting on my best conspiratorial look I reply, “The Injustice of Bribery, how some selfishly use their money and position.”
“Sounds interesting, I could have given you all kinds of examples of how other merchants use bribery to get better prices.”
“Well, I had a really good example. It seems that one trader tried to bribe an innkeeper in Bethlehem for a room, offering him three times the proper rate if he would kick out a family and give him the room.”
“Ooh, you didn’t?” Denny moans.
“I did,” I affirmed, “but I left your name out of it.”
I hope that you enjoyed this little story with the reporter unknowingly searching for Jesus. If I may offer two points. The first is that like the shepherd Samuel observed, searching for God, for Jesus, is not simply a logical exercise but involves our whole being. Yes, faith in Christ can be reasonably explained. But, it can not be understood unless the heart is involved. Too often folks search with one or the other and completely miss Christ. The second point is that Jesus cannot be ignored. Sure, he can be rejected or embraced. But once someone hears the story of Christ they have to do something with it. Everyone must answer Christ’s question – “Who do you say that I am?”
The story could continue into Christ’s ministry, his death, and some of the events chronicled in Acts. Please let me know if that would interest you.