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Jesus and Eli (working title not final one)

Book By: DebbieLynn
Religion and spirituality

This is the story of Eli, son of Thomas, and his interactions with Jesus through out his life.

Submitted:Mar 24, 2009    Reads: 68    Comments: 2    Likes: 0   

Chapter 1
The First Christmas Gift
"Mother, Mother?" Eli yells as he runs into the yard.
"Eli, please don't yell. Your sister is asleep." Sarah scolds as she walks out of the house.
"I'm sorry, Mother. I hope I didn't wake Elizabeth up. Guess what? Father said I could go with him, John, and Timothy tonight to watch the sheep. Isn't that great?" Eli says as fast as he can not waiting on his mother to reply to his question.
"Eli, where is your father?" His mother asks quietly.
"I am right here, Sarah" Thomas answers as he walks toward the house. "Eli, I thought we agreed that I would tell your mother? Thomas walks over the Eli and rubs the top of his head.
"I know, Father, but I couldn't wait. I'm sorry."
"Eli, will you please go check on your sister? Don't wake her just see if she if okay. Thank you." Sarah asks as she looks at her husband.
"Thomas, Eli is just six. Are you sure he should go tonight? It's going to get cold." Sarah lays her hand on Thomas' arm and looks worrier into his eyes.
"Sarah, Eli will be just fine. I will be with him, so will John, and Timothy. Besides with all the people in Bethlehem and everyone having to go to their ancestry home towns to be counted I really do need another pair of eyes. Eli will be fine and he will remember this night his whole life." Thomas gently pats Sarah's arm and softly kisses her cheek.
"I guess you are right. I just worry about him being so young."
"It will be fine. Eli has to learn how to talk care of the sheep sometime. Now how about dinner for your men before they go and stand watch over the flock?" Thomas walks and together they walk toward the house.
The family eats dinner and Sarah packs some bread, cheese, and put milk and water in the goat bladders so the men will have something to eat during the long night.
"Master Thomas, are you ready to go?" John asks as he walks toward the open door.
"Yes, John. Eli and I are ready." Thomas kisses Elizabeth and Sarah goodnight.
"So, Eli, are you ready to help keep an eye on the sheep?" John asks as he takes the bags of food and bladders from Sarah.
"I am ready. This is going to be fun." Eli replies as he puts on his outer coat. "I want to learn to be a great shepherd just like Father."
"Eli, be sure to stay with your father. Stay warm." Sarah says as she tightly hugs her young son.
"Mother, I will be okay. Father and the others will be with me." Eli hugs his mother real hard, feeling a little scared but excited also.
"We will beck tomorrow morning just as soon as Ruben and James arrive to relieve us. Sleep in God's hands." Thomas kisses Sarah and takes Eli hands.
Thomas, Eli and John walk through the crowed streets of Bethlehem to get to the fields where Thomas keeps not only his sheep but the sheep of others he has agreed to watch during the census. Since Thomas belongs to the House of David, he doesn't have to travel doing this time. He agreed to help his neighbors and friends by watching their sheep. Having the extra sheep to watch was one of the reasons Thomas wanted Eli to go with them. He needed as many eyes as he could get. Besides, Thomas thought it was time Eli started learning the family business.
"Eli, stay close. The streets are crowed and I don't want you to get lost. Hold my hand"
"Okay, Father. But why are there so many people in our small town?"
"They are here because Caesar wants to know how many people there are, so everyone must go to the town where their forefathers lived to be counted." Thomas answers hoping Eli would understand.
"Why didn't we have to go somewhere else?" Eli asks as he looks at all the people in the streets and doorways.
"Because our forefathers are part of the House of David and Bethlehem is the City of David so we didn't have to go anywhere. Besides I have already filled out all the required paper work."
"Are you also from the House of David, John?" Eli asks.
"Yes, Eli, I am. So I guess that makes us distant cousins." John jokes as they walk along.
"Excuse me, sir. Do you know of any place left with a room? You see my wife is expecting a child and we have been traveling for a long time to get here." A young man leading a donkey with a very pregnant young lady on it asks Thomas.
"I'm sorry but I believe all the inns are full but you might try Simon's inn down the street. I hope you find somewhere to rest. Your wife looks very tired. May God be with you and your new family."
"Thank you, kind sir. May God be with you and yours tonight?" The young coupe slowly walks down the street. As the donkey passes Eli, the young wife turns and smiles at him.
As the trio walks out the gate, Eli tugs on his father's arm. As Thomas stops and leans down Eli whispers, "They were a nice couple. Do you think they are special people?"
"Why do you ask that, Eli?"
"I felt that they are special. I don't know why, do you?"
"No, son. I thin they are just like most of the people here just doing what they have to do. The lady looked very uncomfortable. I hope they fined a good place to stay."
Soon the trio arrives at eh field. Stephen and Benjamin already have a fire going. The sheep are quietly eating grass or lying down. Everything looks peaceful and calm.
"Everything is fine, Thomas. We counted the sheep and if the numbers James and Timothy gave us are correct all the sheep are here." Stephen says as Thomas, Eli, and John walk toward the fire.
"What do we do now, Father?' Asks Eli.
"We watch the sheep, making sure they don't wander off and get lost. We take turns sleeping and watching."
"Is that all? I though there was more to being a shepherd."
"Eli, being a shepherd is a good job. Sheep are not smart. They follow each other and can easily get hurt. There are wolves and bears who like to eat sheep, so we must make sure they are protected and stay together." Thomas answers.
"Wow, that is a big responsibility. I hope I will be a good shepherd, one who watches over his sheep and keeps them close." Eli replies feeling really good about his new job.
The group stays near the fire as the temperature slowly drops and talk about everything. After a while Stephen and John fall asleep. Eli tries to sleep but he is so scared that something is going to happen to the small lamb he found. The lamb is very small, only a few weeks old. His father gave him the lamb to watch over and told him that the mother had gotten lost and they feared a wolf go her. Now it was Eli's job to tend this little one.
Eli gathers the lamb in his arms and wraps his coat around both of them. Soon both the boy and the lamb are asleep.
"Thomas, look at that star. It is so bright and looks so close. It is almost like you could reach out and touch it." Benjamin whispers trying not to wake anyone.
"I have never seen it before. It is almost like it reaches to the city. It is such a beautiful night. So calm, so peaceful. Like my father used to say 'God is in His heaven and all is right with the world.'." Thomas replies smiling toward the night sky.
Thomas and Benjamin glance toward the sheep only to see all of them asleep with the dogs watching over them.
Suddenly, both men see a bright light near them. From within the light a person in bright white clothing walks toward them. Because the light is so bright it wakes John, Eli, and Stephen.
"Father, what is going on? Is it morning already?" Eli asks rubbing his eyes as he sits up holding the lamb.
"I don't know, Eli. But for some reason I can tell all of you that everything is okay." Thomas reaches out for his son enfolding him in his arms.
"How do you know everything is okay?" Asks Stephen.
"I just know. I have a feeling of peace."
"Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the City of David a Savor, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign to you; you will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger." The angel of Lord says to the shepherds who stood as if they are paralyzed. (Luke 2:9-12 NKJ).
Just as the angel finishes speaking the whole sky glows as a multitude of angels appear praising God saying "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace good will toward men. (Luke 2:13 NKJ).
As Thomas looks at Eli; the Sky grows dark again. The stars seem brighter and all of them feel an extreme feeling of peace and love.
"What did we just see?" Benjamin asks
"I think we have been in the presence of an angel of God." Stephen replies.
"Why would God send an angel to tell us about this Savior being born?" John questions.
"Father what are we going to do now? Are we going to the town and see the baby?" Eli asks as he tugs on his father's coat.
"I think that is a good idea. God wouldn't have given us this important message unless we are to go. Do you think we can find the manger where the baby is?" Thomas replies.
John glances toward the sky and seeing the new star shinning brightly replies, "I thin we are to follow that star. It will lead us to the baby."
"What about the sheep? Should one of us stay here with them?" Benjamin asks.
"They will be fine. The dogs will watch over them. Besides I think God will also be watching over them for us. Don't you think He would care for them for us so we can go see the child?" Thomas tells the group.
The men look toward the flock of sheep, and all of them nod. They gather their staffs and start walking toward the city.
"Eli, you should leave the lamb here. He belongs with the flock." Thomas says as Eli places the lamb across his shoulders.
"Father, the lamb is for the baby. Every boy should have a lamb to raise. I know you gave him to me to raise but I can get another one. Besides everyone gets presents on their birthday."
"Eli, when did you get so smart? I thought I brought a little boy with me tonight but I now know you are not that small any more. I am very proud of you." Thomas rubs his sons head.
They walk in silence into the crowded city. Even thought it is well part midnight there are people still awake. There are people everywhere, some sleeping in doorways, others just sitting on the ground. All waiting for morning.
"There, there the star seems to be over there." Johns say excitedly pointing toward Simon's inn.
The group walks through the city toward the outer edge. Here there are few homes and only one or two inns, one of them Simon's. They slowly walk to the entrance of the stable to Simon's inn. Thomas softly knocks on the door frame. From within they hear the small coo of a baby.
"May I help you, Gentlemen?" The young man Thomas, John and Eli had met on the street earlier asks.
"Sir, we were in the fields outside the city tonight watching the sheep and we were visited by an angel of God who told us that a Savior was born tonight here in the city. We have followed the new star to this stable. May we see the baby?' Thomas asks politely.
"Joseph, who is there?" The shepherds hear from within
"Shepherds, Mary, led by an angel to see Jesus. May they come in?" Joseph answers.
"Yes, Joseph, they may. We could not turn them away especially since God sent them here." Mary says smiling down at her new son.
"Please, come in." Joseph moves away from the entrance so they may enter.
Thomas moves to the side to allow John, Stephen, and Benjamin to enter first. He then follows with Eli holding the boys hand tightly. The men bow down as they near Mary who is holding the child. No one says a word. As John, Stephen, and Benjamin rise to leave they smile at Mary and shake hands with Joseph. They depart through the entrance to wait on Thomas and Eli.
As Eli walks up, he removes the lamb from his shoulders and gently sets it at Mary's feet.
"Here is my present on the day of your birth, little one. I hope you like it." Eli looks at the baby.
"Thank you, young man. My son will take good care of your lamb. You have been a very generous boy to give up your own lamb. I know you have given from your heart." Mary replies leaning over to gently kiss Eli on the cheek.
"Good lady, may your son grow to be a strong and brave man. Thank you for sharing him with us. May God always watch over this family. You are blessed among women." Thomas says as he bows down in front of Mary.
Thank you, gentle Shepherd. Your words mean a lot to my family and me." Joseph replies as he shakes Thomas' hand.
Thomas and Eli leave to join the others outside.
"Father, did you see the baby smile at me when I gave him the lamb. Do you really think he is the Savior the rabbi says will one day come?"
"Yes, Eli, I do. I don't know how I know but I do."
"Remember, Father, I told you earlier that I thought they were special."
"Yes, Eli, I do and they are."
"Thomas, if you don't mind I think I will go and wake James and Ruben. They have to know about this. I have to tell someone. I can't keep this inside" John says turning to walk toward James' home.
"Wait, John, I will go with you. If you don't care, Thomas?" Stephen calls to John.
"Go ahead, we can see to the sheep till morning. See you then." Thomas reaches down and takes Eli's hand.
"In the morning we will tell your mother, but for the rest of the night someone must watch the sheep. We will go back to the field and pray to thank God for sharing this great event with us." Thomas tells Eli and Benjamin as they walk back toward the field.
When they reach the field, they find the fire still going and the sheep and dogs just where they left them. The three of them kneel down and Thomas leads them in a prayer to God for all He has done for them this night.
Soon all three fall into a peaceful sleep. Come morning they are awakened by Stephen, John, James and Ruben.
"Did what John told me really happen." James asks Thomas.
"Oh, yes, James. I know in my heart everything happened last nigh. I also believe we were allowed to be the first to see our Savior. Just to think lowly shepherds the first to see our Savior." Thomas says looking toward heaven as if to say thank you once more to God.
"Why don't you and Eli go home and tell Sarah. We will stay with the sheep." Benjamin says helping Eli roll up his bed roll.
"Mother, Mother! Guess what happened to us last night?" Eli yells at the top of his lungs as he runs toward the house.
"Eli, please no so loud." Sarah says as she appears in the door way.
"But, Mother, we were visited by an angel and went to see a new baby. I gave him my lamb as a birthday present. He smiled at me. It was great." Eli relates his experiences to Sarah at such a fast pace that she just smiles.
"Thomas, what is Eli going on about? He sounds so excited."
Thomas picks up Elizabeth, who has started to cry because o fall the noise, and motions for Sarah to come and sit down on the bench under the tree.
"Eli, take your sister and play with her while I tell your mother about last night."
Eli picks up Elizabeth and takes her t a spot on the other side of the tree to play.
Thomas looks at his wife and slowly tells her all that happened over night.
"Wow, Thomas. What a great experience to have. An angel of God giving you all the greatest news ever. I am so proud of Eli giving up his lamb to the baby. Eli is such a good boy; I know he will be a good loving man just like his father." Sarah says after Thomas has finished.
Sarah and Thomas can hear Eli and Elizabeth playing and Eli is telling Elizabeth all that happened even though Elizabeth is too little to understand.
Sarah gently kisses her husband's cheek and smiles as she watches her children.
Chapter 2
"Father, why are we moving to Nazareth?" Eli asks as he places another chair on the wagon.
"Because your grandfather needs my help with his flock, since he hurt his leg and grandfather lives in Nazareth." Thomas answers as he puts the last piece of furniture on the wagon.
"Where will we live, with grandfather?"
"Yes, Grandfather's house in a nice large one close to a carpenter named Joseph. Mary and Joseph have children you and Elizabeth can play with." Thomas lifts Elizabeth to Sarah who is already sitting in the wagon.
The journey takes about a week to travel. During this time the family stays the night with friends along the way.
"Grandfather, we're here!" Eli shouts as he races toward the house.
Eli's grandfather, James, slowly walks out of his house leaning on a wooden cane. Three months ago James fell in the field while tending the sheep and broke his leg. It has been hard for him since he must now use a cane all the time.
"I am so glad you are here. Thank you, Thomas, Sarah, for coming to help me. I have been so lonely over the past few years since your mother died and now I have hurt my leg. I just can't tend the sheep like I could. Thank you so much for coming to help." Grandfather James takes Eli hand and walks toward his daughter and son-in-law.
"Father, you know we would have come early if you had wanted. You kept telling me you were okay after mother died 3 years ago." Sarah says as she hugs her father.
"I didn't need help until I got hurt. I can cook and clean and could still watch my flock but once I fell and broke my leg, I had to accept that I needed help." He returns Sarah's hug and offers his hand to Thomas.
Thomas, Sarah, Eli, and Daniel, Grandfather's hired hand, start to unload the wagon.
"Father, you sit down and play with Elizabeth while we get this wagon unloaded."
"I'll start supper. Elizabeth, you can help me." Sarah says after they have finished unloading the wagon.
"James, I will see you tomorrow." Daniel states as he leave to go home.
"Thomas, you and Eli come with me. I want you to meet my good friend Joseph." Grandfather James says leading them down the lane. "Sarah we will be back in about 30 minutes."
Grandfather James, Thomas and Eli slowly walk about 300 yards and stop in front of a carpenter shop.
"Anyone Home?" Grand father yells
"James, my friend. Come in, Come in." a large muscular man walks out of the shop door. He is followed by a young boy about 5 years old.
"Joseph, this is my son-in-law, Thomas and my grandson, Eli. They have come to help me with the flock. Thomas, Eli this is Joseph and his son Jesus."
"Please to meet you. Please come in. Jesus and I were working on a table for Mary's mother, Anna." Joseph led them into his work shop.
Eli and Jesus look each other over and then shake hands and smile.
"Joseph, may I ask you a question?" Thomas asks.
"Of course."
"You look very familiar. Were you in Bethlehem 5 years ago for the census?
"Why, yes. Jesus was born there. Why do you ask?"
"Do you remember group of shepherds that came to the stable?"
"Yes, I do. How do you know about that?"
"Well, Joseph, Eli and I were with the shepherds."
While the men are talking, Eli and Jesus have gone outside to play with left over pieces of wood. Jesus is showing Eli just how to join the pieces together so that the seam will not be seen.
"Jesus, five years ago, I was helping my father & his friends keep the sheep one night. Suddenly there was a very bright star and angels. We were told to go back to Bethlehem and find a baby in a manger. I think that baby was you. I gave the baby my lamb. If that baby was you, you are special." Eli tells Jesus.
Jesus just smiles and says, "Eli, thank you for the lamb. I am sure it was hard for you to give it up."
"Father, Father." Yells Eli. "Jesus was the baby we saw in the manger."
"Eli, please you don't have to yell. I know Joseph and I have been talking about that night. Isn't it great to have them live so close to Grandfather?"
"You must come in meet Mary. She will be so happy to see you again." Joseph hangs up his apron and leds the group to the house.
"Mary, we have guest." Joseph says as he holds open the door for James, Thomas and Eli.
"Oh, Joseph. The house is a mess." Mary says coming out to the kitchen.
"Mary, the house is fine. You, Hannah, and Ruth always keep our house spotless."
"Mary, I would like introduce you to my son-in-law, Thomas and my grand son, Eli, but I think you have already met them about 5 years ago." James says.
"Joseph, are these the shepherds?"
"Yes, Mary, they are. Isn't that something after all these years? They are here to live with James and help him. We shall be neighbor."
"Thomas, you and your family will have to meet the rest of our family. However, Joseph's older sons, Joseph and James, are both married and do not live here. Joseph lives in Cana and James in Bethany. The younger boys, Simon and Juda are out making delivers for Joseph. Hannah and Ruth are in the kitchen helping me with supper. Girls, please come here.' Mary calls to Hannah and Ruth.
Hannah, a lovely twelve year old with big blue eyes and long dark hair walks out with her sister, Ruth., a young girl about ten who looks like a smaller version of her sister.
"Yes, Mother." Hannah says wiping her hands on her apron.
"Girls, this is Thomas, and Eli. Thomas is James' son-in-law and Eli is his grandson. Thomas and Eli were with the shepherds who come to see us when Jesus was born. Eli is the young man who gave us the lamb. You remember we told; you about this when Anna brought all of you to Bethlehem to live. "Joseph says.
"Yes, Father. Pleased to meet you, Thomas, Eli." Hannah says. Ruth just stands behind her sister not saying anything.
"Mary, Joseph, I hate to bring this nice reunion to an end but I told Sarah we would only be gone a short time. We have to get back. I know she will have supper ready and I don't want her upset we are late and supper is cold." James announces.
"I am sure my children and your children will be good friends. We must get together soon so we can all get to know each other." Thomas says as he shakes hands with Joseph. "Mary, girls, it has been a pleasure to meet you."
"May the Lord watch over you and your family will we meet again." Joseph says seeing them out.
"Father, wait till we tell mother. She must meet Mary and Joseph real soon. I am sure she will like them" Eli says as they walk home.
"I am sure she will, Eli. And you and Elizabeth will have other children to play with."
"Sarah, guess who; your father's neighbors are? They are the young couple Eli and I meet the night of the bright star. They are Mary and Joseph. Joseph is the carpenter your father talks about all the time. You will have to meet them soon." Thomas says not allowing Sarah to guess.
"That's great, Thomas. Hopefully we will all be good friends. Now go wash so we can eat before it gets cold."
The men wash and the small family sits down to eat. James asks the blessing upon their meal.
"Sarah, this bread is very good. "Grandfather says eating another piece.
"You must thank Elizabeth. She made it." Sarah replies
"Elizabeth, you did a wonderful job. Thank you for the bread." James says smiling at his granddaughter.
"Thank you, Grandfather."
"Thomas, do Mary and Joseph have any other children?" Sarah asks during the meal.
"Let me answer, Thomas. Yes, well Joseph does. Jesus is Mary and Joseph's only child but Joseph has 6 other children from his first marriage to Rebekka. Rebekka died when their youngest daughter was born. The oldest boys are married and live elsewhere. Joseph in Cana and James in Bethany. They are 20 and 18. Simon 16 and Judas 14, who like to be called Jude, and Hannah 12 and Ruth 10 still, live at home. "
"Father, I am so glad Joseph has Mary to help raise his children. I must meet her. Elizabeth and I will go over tomorrow. Besides we need a larger table. This one is too small for us. No offense, Father, but it was fine for you and Mother, but not for five people. I will ask Joseph if he will make us a new one."
"No offense taken, Sarah. I understand. You will be pleased with Joseph's work. He is a very good carpenter."
"Elizabeth, please help me with the dishes."
"Yes, Mother."
"I'll help to, Mother." Eli replies picking up the plate.
"Thank you, Eli."
"Thomas, come outside with me. I want to hear the story of how you meet Joseph and Mary and Jesus."
The men walk outside and Thomas retells the story again. James has heard it before.
"To think God choose to allow lowly shepherds to be the first to see His son. I wish I could have been there with you."

"It was great. I feel so blessed. And now to have them living so close. For my children to be able to be friends with Jesus and his brothers and sisters. I h


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