Today is a very special treat. This is just one of many stops on the Bethlehem Tour so, let’s get right into things. The talented author, Sheila Deeth, is going to interview a shepherd boy and give a peek into his world.
Sheila: Thank you for the warm welcome Toi. I have a guest with me who’s been working on the hills near Bethlehem. I wondered if your readers would like to meet him.
Could you tell us your name, young man?
Boy: Eli, miss.
Sheila: And how old are you Eli?
Eli: Nearly twelve.
Sheila: And what do you do?
Eli: I’m a shepherd, miss. Like my dad. Like my dad’s dad.
Sheila: Your granddad, right? I remember you talking about him.
Eli: Yeah. Granddad’s a shepherd too, but he don’t get around too well these days. Sheep can chase him faster ‘an he chases them.
Sheila: Do you live with your granddad?
Eli: Not rightly, no. Mom and the kids live in a room over his house in Bethlehem. But me and the men, we stay out on the hills, looking after sheep.
Sheila: There are an awful lot of sheep out there. Are they all yours?
Eli: No. They’re everyone’s sheep. We all work together, looking after ‘em.
Sheila: Even when it’s cold?
Eli: Well, we’ve got tents and camp fires so we’re warm enough, unless it’s really bad. When it snows, we come down to town and put the sheep in the stables.
Sheila: Where are the stables?
Eli: Under the houses of course. We’ve nearly all got stables in the caves.
Sheila: So, I heard something rather special happened in a stable recently.
Eli: That’s right miss. That’s what you wanted me to talk about innit? ‘Course, I wasn’t there. But my Mom says it was cool.
Sheila: What happened?
Eli: Well, it was during the census thing. You heard about that?
Sheila: When people had to be registered in their home towns?
Eli: Those Roman overlords lording it over us, yeah. They had everyone travelling, roads all packed, and then the houses too. I mean, where you gonna put grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles, cousins three times removed plus their best friend’s sister in a one-room house?
Sheila: One room and a stable, right?
Eli: Yeah. So when this family arrives, a Mom and Dad, except she’s not properly a Mom yet, she has her baby in the stable.
Sheila: Was the baby all right?
Eli: He was perfect, they say, and half the town there looking at him.
Eli: Well… shuffles awkwardly… that was our fault, sorta. ‘Cause these angels…
Eli: Yeah, angels—heavenly beings and all that. They were shining and singing out all over the sky. Then old Granddad—he’d been complaining all night about there being too much noise—well, just as he’s finally starting to snore and letting the rest of us sleep, these angels start up.
Eli: Yeah, but not like any singing you’ve ever heard. Just, wow, like sheep and birds and stars and trees and leaves… and harps and music… I dunno. Like heaven maybe?
Sheila: They just sang?
Eli: They told us about the baby too. Told us Bible stuff, all about the Messiah as well. Folks now, they think Messiah’s gonna be a soldier or king maybe, and he’ll kick the Romans out. But we used to know the Messiah was gonna be a baby—born, not chosen, you see.
Sheila: Like that baby in the stable?
Eli: The angels said he was the Son of David, which kinda means Messiah. They said we should go see him so we did; even Granddad—I held his arm so he could run. Then we get there and this star’s shining over the house, but we go round back to the stable and find the baby there. We must have made too much noise though, just like Granddad kept saying, ‘cause then all the village comes running around to see ‘im. Place was packed out.
Sheila: So, was the baby the Messiah?
Eli: Well, I guess he is; it’s what the angels said. And these king-type people came to see him too, so he must be special.
Eli: Well, whatever. Foreigners, and not Romans. Rich guys with camels. We saw them just a few weeks back, riding along the road from Jerusalem. Then they just carried on after they’d seen him, out toward Decapolis.
Sheila: Can you tell us what’s the baby like?
Eli: Um, just a kid. He’ll be walking soon, so not a baby any more. But he’s kinda cute. Like a sheep with no wool. Smiles.
Sheila: Well, thinking of sheep, perhaps I should let you get back to your flocks now.
Eli: Thank you. I guess I should go. Actually… He frowns.
Sheila: Is something wrong?
Eli: Well, there’s soldiers out there on the road. Can you see them? Herod’s soldiers marching down from t’Herodium. You don’t suppose the old king’s planning to kill the Messiah kid do you? Man, this looks bad. Runs out the door.
Sheila: I guess our little interview’s over then. You take care, Eli, and thank you for talking with us. ‘Bye. And thank you, too, Toi.
Book Title: Bethlehem’s Baby
Series: The Five Minute Bible StoryTM Series, #6
Author: Sheila Deeth
Publisher: Cape Arago Press
Reading Level: Mid-grade
Genre: Christian fiction, children’s fiction, Bible stories
Content Rating: G
Available Formats: ebook
Meet the Emperor Augustus’s advisors, the quiet research student helping wise men study stars, the shepherd whose granddad keeps complaining, an Egyptian fisherboy, a Roman soldier, and more in this set of 40 5-minute read-aloud stories based around the events of the Christ Child’s birth in Bethlehem.
Sheila Deeth is an English American, Catholic Protestant, mathematician writer, with a deep love of the Bible, faith, science, history and writing… and dogs.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords