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Day Christ Was Born: The True Account of the First 24 Hours of Jesus's Life

Overview

A reissue of the classic retelling of the Nativity. "Written with dignity, unerring taste, and with no straining for effects."—Chicago Sunday Tribune

The first hours of Jesus' life on Earth -- recreated by a master journalist.

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Overview

A reissue of the classic retelling of the Nativity. "Written with dignity, unerring taste, and with no straining for effects."—Chicago Sunday Tribune

The first hours of Jesus' life on Earth -- recreated by a master journalist.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Denver Post
“Should give all segments of Christianity a fresh appreciation of Christmas.”
Chicago Sunday Tribune
“Written with dignity, unerring taste, and with no straining for effects.”
Denver Post
“Should give all segments of Christianity a fresh appreciation of Christmas.”
Chicago Sunday Tribune
“Written with dignity, unerring taste, and with no straining for effects.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060607944
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/26/2004
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 112
  • Sales rank: 810,770
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.37 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Jim Bishop was a syndicated columnist and author of many bestselling books, including The Day Lincoln Was Shot, The Day Christ Died, and A Day in the Life of President Kennedy. Born in Jersey City, New Jersey, Bishop died in 1987.

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First Chapter

The Day Christ Was Born
The True Account of the First 24 Hours of Jesus's Life

Chapter One

The road out of bethany threw a tawny girdle around the hill they called the Mount of Olives and the little parties came up slowly out of the east leading asses with dainty dark feet toward the splendor of Jerusalem. They came up all year long from Jericho and the Salt Sea and the Mountains of Moab and the north country of Samaria and Galilee in a never-ending procession to the Temple of Herod the Great. It was a spiritual spawning; a coming home; a communion with God at his appointed house.

Joseph had never seen such awesome beauty. The elders in Nazareth had described it as a rare white jewel set in the green valley between Kidron and Golgotha and he had asked questions about it but the elders -- and his father too -- seemed to lose themselves in arm waving and superlatives. Now he would see it. He reached the rise of the road, his feet tired and dirty from ninety miles of walking, and he unconsciously pulled the jackass a little faster.

"Are you quiet?" he said. His bride, called Miriam in the Aramean tongue, and Mary in others, jogged sideways on the little animal, and said that she was quiet. She felt no pain. This was the fifth day from Nazareth and, from hour to hour, she had progressed from tiredness to fatigue to weariness to the deep anesthesia of exhaustion. She felt nothing. She no longer noticed the chafe of the goatskin against her leg, nor the sway of the food bag on the other side of the animal. Her veiled head hung and she saw millions of pebbles on the road moving by her brown eyes in a blur, pausing, and moving by again with each step of the animal.

Sometimes she felt ill at ease and fatigued, but she swallowed this feeling and concentrated on what a beautiful baby she was about to have and kept thinking about it, the bathing, the oils, the feeding, the tender pressing of the tiny body against her breast -- and the sickness went away. Sometimes she murmured the ancient prayers and, for the moment, there was no road and no pebbles and she dwelt on the wonder of God and saw him in a fleecy cloud at a windowless wall of an inn or a hummock of trees, walking backward in front of her husband, beckoning him on. God was everywhere. It gave Mary confidence to know that He was everywhere. She needed confidence.Mary was fifteen.

Most young ladies of the country were betrothed at thirteen and married at fourteen. A few were not joined in holiness until fifteen or sixteen and these seldom found a choice man and were content to be shepherds' wives, living in caves in the sides of the hills, raising their children in loneliness, knowing only the great stars of the night lifting over the hills, and the whistle of the shepherd as he turned to lead his flock to a new pasture. Mary had married a carpenter. He had been apprenticed by his father at bar mitzvah. Now he was nineteen and had his own business.

It wasn't much of a business, even for the Galilean country. He was young and, even though he was earnest to the point of being humorless, he was untried and was prone to mistakes in his calculations. In all of Judea there was little lumber. Some stately cedars grew in the powdery alkaline soil, but, other than date palms and fig trees and some fruit orchards, it was a bald, hilly country. Carpentry was a poor choice.

A rich priest might afford a house of wood, but most of the people used the substance only to decorate the interior. The houses were of stone, cut from big deposits eighteen inches under the topsoil. It was soft, when first exposed to air, and could be cut with wooden saws into cubes. These were staggered in courses to make a wall.Windows were small and placed high on each wall, so that, daily, squares of sunlight walked slowly across the earthen floor. Mary's house, like the average, was small and set against a hill in Nazareth. At the front, there was a stone doorsill. Over it hung a cloth drape. To enter, the drape was pushed aside.

The interior consisted of two rooms. The front one was Joseph's shop. In it were the workbench, the saws, the auger, the awl and hammers. There were clean-smelling boards and blond curls of shavings on the floor. In the back room there was an earthen oven to the left, three feet wide, six feet long and two feet high. The cooking was done in the stone-lined interior. The family slept on the earthen top of the oven. On chilly nights, the heat seeped through to warm the sleepers. To the right of the room was a table. There were no chairs because only rich Jews sat to eat, and they had learned this from traveling Greeks. Next to the table was a wooden tether for the ass. He was a member of the family, a most important member because he did the carrying of the raw lumber and the finished products, and he was also the sole means of transportation.

He was petted and loved and spoken to. On the tether, he watched Mary go about her duties. He flicked the flies from his ears and sometimes, when he tired of watching, his eyes closed and he locked his knees so that he would not fall, and he slept standing up. He was not a stubborn animal. He was most patient and he would stand while Joseph burdened him with a mound of objects.When the bridle strap was pulled by his master, the ass lowered his head, switched his tail against his flanks, and started off, the little hoofs making sounds like an inverted cup dropped in the mud ...

The Day Christ Was Born
The True Account of the First 24 Hours of Jesus's Life
. Copyright © by Jim Bishop. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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