PostScripts from Blessing

The official blog of author Lauraine Snelling and the fictional town of Blessing, North Dakota

December 21,1905 Myrah and the Messiah, Part 4

Myra and the Messiah, Part 4
Taryn G, 17
The sound of a baby crying was heard distinctly a couple hours later. As Myra's mother went back to the inn to help the guests and finish cleaning for the night, Myra stayed and talked with the new mother.
"My name is Myra. I forgot to tell you that earlier. Your baby is beautiful. What are you going to name him?"
"My name is Mary and this is my husband Joseph. This baby has already been named 'Jesus' by an angel that came and visited me."
"An angel?" Myra interrupted, "Weren't you frightened?"
"I was very frightened, but the angel told me not to be. He said that I would give birth to a son and that I was to give Him the name Jesus. Joseph and I weren't married yet, so he was going to break off the engagement because of my pregnancy."
So Mary had been humiliated too. Yet she did not seem bitter.
Mary continued, interrupting Myra's thoughts, "However, an angel appeared to him also and told him about the purpose of my child. Myra, this baby boy is special and has a very special purpose. He is the Messiah, the Son of God."
Myra was stunned. In all the times she'd imagined the Messiah; it had never been as a tiny baby nestled in his mother's arms. Rather, he would be a strong soldier with a big sword, surrounded by troops, to drive out the Romans. Many times, she had thought of Him in that way. But this? She couldn't believe it. The Messiah was born right before her eyes. How was this little baby going to defeat their oppressors? Danya had been right! "You said that Jesus has a special purpose. What is it? It is conquering the Romans, right?"
"No. I am not exactly sure, but the angel told me that He was going to save us from our sins," explained Mary.
Their sins? Myra felt disappointment trickle down her neck. What were their sins compared to the oppression of Rome? Myra asked, "Everyone? And He isn't going to fight the Romans?"
"I am not sure to the first question. However, no is the answer to the second. Jesus is going to bring peace, not war."
Her initial joy plunged back into the bitterness that gripped her daily. Myra muttered, "Then, my situation will never change." She felt that her grief and loneliness would never go away.
"What did you say?" questioned Mary. She was looking tired again. The baby squirmed a bit. A soft smile pulled itself across Myra's face as she watched Him.
"I said my situation will never change. Years ago, a Roman soldier was severely hurt and was separated from his group of men. He made his way to Bethlehem. Instead of turning him back into the city streets, where nameless crowds would punish him and he would never be heard from again, my father graciously bathed him and nursed him back to health. He even packed food and gave money for the soldier's return journey to his regiment." Myra recalled it as though it were today.
Mary shook her head. "Your father is a wonderful man."
"Was," Myra said bitterly. "The people of Bethlehem hated my father for his kindness to the enemy and ignored me and my family. A couple weeks after the soldier left, my father fell ill. We asked for the doctor to come tend my father, but he refused and called us traitors. By that time, my father was growing worse and he died a couple days later. They killed him! All because of that dumb Roman soldier. Father should've just left the Roman to die in the streets. I despise the Romans for their control over us, and resent the people of Bethlehem for their hateful distain. I wish that the Romans would just leave us alone," Myra explained angrily.
"I am so sorry to hear about your father. I have felt angry and hurt, because of what people are saying about me. But Joseph helped me to understand that forgiving them would relieve me of my anger. Now, their insults are easier to ignore."
Myra wasn't sure she could do as Mary had. There had been too much hurt, too many days longing to hear her dad's cheerful voice calling her name. Just at that time, Myra heard a noise. As she peered into the darkness, Myra spotted sheep and they were milling into the stable. What were sheep doing in town? Myra thought.
All of a sudden, a voice cried, "Myra, the Messiah is here, at your stable!"
Danya was right beside Myra in an instant, followed quickly by Jonathan. Once Myra overcame her surprise, she led them, their father and the other shepherds, into the small stable. As they gathered around the newborn cradled in Mary's arms, Myra asked Danya how they knew about Jesus.
"While we were in the fields with the sheep, angels came and told us the good news and we followed the star above the stable. Isn't it wonderful? It is incredible that He was born here."
Silent, Myra pondered over the miraculous events of the past day. Mary motioned for Myra to come beside her. After Myra settled onto the hay, Jesus was placed gently into her arms. As Myra cuddled the tiny infant, she felt all the anger, hurt, and resentment melt away. She would choose to believe that this Messiah could change things. Everything Danya had said over the last few months fell into place and made sense. Myra did not have the answer to her problems, but she realized that she was holding the answer.
Myra knew she would never forget that special night. She would tell her children and they would tell theirs and so it would continue through the ages.

Taryn, 17, is home schooled and lives in Utah with her parents, younger brother, and Golden Retriever. A junior in high school, Taryn hopes to become a nurse and work in a hospital, do medical research or major in mathematics. When she's not attending college or doing endless homework, she swims for the local public high school. She enjoys skiing, rock climbing, hiking, and camping with her family and friends.One of her favorite pastimes is reading books, in which she enjoys historical fiction or mystery the best.

December 14, 1905 Myra and the Messiah, Part 3

Myra and the Messiah, Part 3
Taryn G, 17
"I am extremely sorry. There is absolutely no available room. We have people squeezed in everywhere; there are even some guests sleeping on the floor." Myra's mother quietly shut the door as the travelers walked away and turned towards her daughter.
"I dislike turning away people, but there's nowhere they can stay."
Myra replied, "There are so many people that have been coming to Bethlehem and are still coming, because of the census. It's all the Romans' fault. They only want to know how many of us there are so they can get more money out of us, perhaps even figure out how to start getting rid of us. That's what they want to do, you know it."
Her mother's tired face looked stern. 'You must stop this bitterness, Myra. Think of someone other than yourself. Think of the tired travelers who are streaming into our town. They don't have a roof over their head. You have so much."
A couple hours later, scrubbing this, washing that; Myra was exhausted with doing her mother's endless list of chores. With an overflow of people staying at their inn, Myra's mother's high standards were ever more difficult to accomplish. The floors, dishes and sheets never seemed to meet her mother's perfectionist standards. At least Myra had been able to skip cleaning the stables without her mother noticing. Yet.
After Myra's mother went downstairs to start on dinner, Myra seized this opportunity to throw the rag into the bucket and gaze out the window and watch the busy streets below. Think of someone other than herself. What good did that do? It was simply something parents told their children to make them be quiet. She felt her resentment bubble inside her again.
Looking out of the second story window gave her a great view; hence, it was one of her favorite pastimes. Myra loved to make up stories about the travelers – where they came from, what their purpose was, what kind of people they were. After studying several families, caravans, and traders, Myra spied a couple that was shuffling down the street. A young, but gaunt and worn-looking man led a skinny, pitiful donkey. On the donkey slumped a tired, dirty girl, not much older than Myra herself. Myra could see she was great with child. As they turned down a street, the urge to help them pushed through her bitterness. But where would they stay? Already people were sleeping on any available floor space in her own house.
As a thought struck her, Myra ran quickly ran down the stairs without thinking further. Moments later, armed with blankets and pillows she hurried to the family's barn. As the smells of the barn animals mixed with the sweet-smelling hay hit her, a little seed of doubt sprung in Myra. How could she offer a stable to someone? Surely she would be humiliated once again. After pausing to think, Myra decided that there was no choice and hurriedly made a cozy bed with new hay and the blankets and pillows from her room.
As Myra wove her way through the Bethlehem streets, she searched for the couple she had seen earlier. After many fruitless, frustrating turns, she heard cries of pain and a soft, consoling voice from a nearby alley. As Myra turned the corner, a man's voice cried out, "Please, help us." Myra ran over to the girl's side and said to them, "Come with me. I have a place prepared for you." Even with all her twisting and turning, she'd only gone a few corners from her mother's inn.
Myra and the man were able to help the girl make it to the warm shelter of the stable. Embarrassed by the smells of the animals, Myra regretted not cleaning their stalls that day.
As soon as the girl was comfortable, the man dropped into a deep slumber. It was obvious that neither one of them nor the donkey had had enough sleep, rest or food. The old, starved donkey looked about ready to fall over. Myra had given it some grain, but it hardly had the strength to eat it. Myra fetched some food for the man and girl from the house. Beautiful through the filth, the girl thanked Myra and leaned against the wall to rest. Her thick, wavy, brunette hair fell down to her waist when she took off her head covering. Her face was worn with the pains of traveling and carrying a child.
"Do you live here?" The girl asked, breaking the awkward silence.
"Yes. I live here with my mother, who runs the inn in front of the stable. Where did you travel from?"
"Nazareth. My husband owns a carpentry shop there."
Nazareth was almost seventy miles north of Bethlehem. Suddenly everything made sense. The nearly starved donkey, the haggard looks on their faces. Myra assumed that the husband walked the whole way and the donkey transported the short, but pregnant girl. Her anger burned again at the Romans for forcing this couple to travel at this momentous time in their married life. How she hated their oppressors.
"I was watching you from my window and I just felt drawn to help you two. You reminded me of me – tired, lost, hopeless, and ignored."
The girl smiled, yet said nothing. Moments later, when Myra glanced over at the girl again, she saw that the girl was fast asleep next to her husband. Checking to make sure everything was in order; she headed out of the stable. Abruptly, remembering the cries that drew her to the couple, Myra darted back and dug in the corner of the barn and emerged triumphant. After, lugging out an old, unused manger, shaking out the twigs, and filling it with new hay, she placed it beside the sleeping couple.
After dinner, Myra urged her mother out to the stable.
"They needed a place to stay and I thought of our stable. It is nice and warm. I put down new hay and brought them blankets from my room." Myra pleaded with her mother, who wasn't happy with the idea of the couple staying in the stable. However, once they entered the stable, her mother's mind quickly changed. The young man was sitting in the lamplight with his back to them, leaning over his wife.
The young woman cried out again.
"Myra, go to the house and get some warm water and more blankets. Hurry." Myra's mother urged.
Myra raced to the inn and fetched the needed items and almost fell on her way back to the stable, so overloaded were her arms.
Watch for the Final Installment Next Week.

Meet the Author
Taryn, 17, is home schooled and lives in Utah with her parents, younger brother, and Golden Retriever. A junior in high school, Taryn hopes to become a nurse and work in a hospital, do medical research or major in mathematics. When she's not attending college or doing endless homework, she swims for the local public high school. She enjoys skiing, rock climbing, hiking, and camping with her family and friends.One of her favorite pastimes is reading books, in which she enjoys historical fiction or mystery the best.

12-09-1905 Myrah and the Messiah Part 2

Myra and the Messiah, Part 2
By Taryn G, age 16

"Look around you. There are fields, mountains, trees, bushes, animals, and people. Someone had to create all this and not just any someone: a Creator. One who loves." Danya's face looked like someone had turned on a light inside. The two girls were sitting on a green hill that Danya's family used for pasturing their sheep. Down below them, they could see the tiny town of Bethlehem. "Just look at the color and beauty there is, even in our dusty land. I believe our purpose is to recognize that there exists a Creator and to give Him glory and thanks for what He made."
Myra watched the tiny people streaming into the town, registering at the registrar's table that had been temporarily set up for the census. She knew they were attempting to find some place to stay and get some meals. However, Bethlehem was filling up quickly with many travelers. Along with the inns, the marketplace was busy. Trying to sell their wares, the local vendors were shouting out their items to the newcomers. Since Myra's mother ran one of the several inns in Bethlehem, she was extremely busy trying to cope with all of the travelers.
It had been days since she'd seen Danya, since Myra's mother kept her running every minute with cleaning this and moving that at their inn. To sit with her friend and just enjoy everything around her was relaxing, even with Danya's questions and statements. Myra sighed.
Danya interrupted Myra's thoughts and said, "It is so much more meaningful and it makes sense. If there is a building, there is a builder. If there is a blanket, there is a weaver. If there is a creation, there has to be a creator."
Too soon after, Myra was weaving her way back through the crowds of people, headed for her house. All of a sudden a Roman soldier was standing in her way, and having no time to react, Myra collided with the man.
"You incompetent girl!" The Roman shouted. "Watch where you are going!" With that he slammed his forearm into Myra's chest and stomped off.
Shocked and dazed from her fall, Myra lay on the ground. After the soldier moved off, the people of Bethlehem surrounded her. Once they saw it was her, they ridiculed her for her clumsy act and humiliation from the soldier. Myra was so angry that she wanted to pick up the stones around her and start hurling them. She wished she could find that Roman soldier and punch him, but she knew how dangerous and brainless that would be.
"Why do the people of Bethlehem have to hold their silly grudges? Why can't they let it go and not treat us differently? Haven't we suffered enough already? Danya and Jonathan are my only friends." Myra confessed to her mother after she arrived home.
Her mother's chapped hands, from so much washing and cooking, pushed the hair back from her daughter's dusty face. Myra gulped back the hot, angry tears.
"I am so sorry for what we have gone through that they treat us this way. I don't understand it, but we must not let it bother us. If you forgive them, it is easier to deal with the resentment and anger." Myra's mother replied.
"I can't forgive them! I can't accept the Romans either!" Myra shouted and stormed off to her room.
Lying on her back in her small room, Myra glared up at the ceiling. Life was so unfair. The way their family was treated was so unfair. Her father had set terrible things in motion with his act of kindness. The Romans didn't deserve to be treated nicely. What happened afterward should have never have happened. If the people of Bethlehem had still held onto their prejudice after all these years, they would never let it go. She had thought that maybe her situation was getting better, because the kids were actually acknowledging her presence at school. However, the event today confirmed her fears; it would never get better. How could she stand it?

Watch for Part Three Next Week