The man in the crowd.

“So you want to know about the two people at the temple?” the old woman said. “It was a remarkable thing. You would think that after angels and shepherds we would not have been surprised. But we were.”

The researcher nodded, slightly. He didn’t want to say anything that would distract her.

old wood table“We were following God’s instructions,” she said.  “We looked around the courtyard at all the tables. So much noise. So many people. So many accents. We could hardly think. It was so different from Nazareth.”

The researcher smiled. It reminded him of a story that he and Mark had talked about. That story had to be included when he got to writing.

“We had brought the exact money we needed for two pigeons,” she said. “That was the offering we could afford. But it was enough. God had provided enough.” 

She paused. She started humming something.

“You were going to tell me about the man?” the researcher said after a bit.

She smiled. “There are so many memories. God has been so good and so scary. With such unusual timing. We were looking at the tables and a man walked right up to us and nodded at the baby. As if to hold him. Something told me that it was acceptable, that he was trustworthy. 

“I handed him my baby.”

“In all that crowd?” he said. “You didn’t know him at all?”

She shook her head. “We had never seen him and never saw him again. I looked for him over the years, when we were in Jerusalem again, but no trace.”

The researcher made a mental note to look into that part of the story.

“He stepped back from us, lifted his head, and started to pray. In the middle of the people. He talked about God’s promise to him. He spoke words from the Prophet. But in the noise, no one paid much attention. Then he stepped close to us. As he was handing the baby back, he spoke to me. I’ve never told anyone what he said. Not til now.”

The researcher listened carefully. For the first time in their conversation, he took notes, writing exactly what the man told her.


A reflection from Luke 2.


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