What is it about those Romans? They can organise an Empire but can they organise a census? Whose bright idea was it to say that everyone had to go to their own city? Bethlehem is heaving with those who claim to be descended from King David. Ye gods, the man had eight wives and heaven-knows-how-many concubines resulting in at least nineteen sons. And that was a thousand years ago so there’s plenty of descendants.
And when I say heaving, I mean heaving. There have been people arriving for days. I keep the pub here and my rooms here are more than full and everyone’s had to double or treble up. The little ’uns have had to come in with me and Hagar, my old woman. I sent the kids out to everyone I could think of trying to find extra rooms for the travellers. Everyone’s been trying to help but it’s impossible.
And then really late a couple came, “Have you got a room we could have?” I just laughed in his face but Hagar came out while they were there and she took one look at the woman, well more of a girl really, and she dragged me on one side and she started on at me. “What did I think I was doing? Couldn’t I see that the lass was obviously near her time?”
Of course I could see she was near her time but what could I do about it? Every room is full, and really the girl could do with a bit of privacy. Her old man doesn’t look too much use but if it’s his first he has my sympathy. It’s only a couple of months since Hagar had Joel, our eighth and I know things get a bit tense.
Anyway, Hagar had a bright idea. There’s a cave near the field where we keep our stock. It’s not brilliant but it’s better than a bivouac. Hagar got the kids to find some straw bales and they made a makeshift shelter just the other side of the manger.
And I’ve kept the bar running. It was very busy as all the travellers came for a pint and a yarn.
My mind kept running to that cave though and that young lass. What a way to have a baby! Different from our Joel. Our Joel will be all right. He just needs to stay out of the way of the Romans and that puppet Herod.
That lass will have her baby tonight, no doubt about that. It’s definitely her time.
When will it be our time? When will we get a king as great as David? One day he will come. We’ve been promised.
When will it truly be time, gentlemen, please?