| ABOUT JULIA
In biblical times, cattle were not uncommon and Julia’s family
held what was considered to be Bethlehem’s finest herd. Cows served a variety of purposes in ancient
times. Many were consumed in sacrifices
and others were used for food. The cattle
from Julia’s family were prized by ancient Israeli farmers. They were hard workers. Seemingly tireless, and very strong.
Julia’s favorite time was when calves were born. Over time she had observed and assisted in so
many births. She had become an expert at
bringing these animals into the world.
Somehow she just knew what needed to be done to ensure the safety of
both cow and calf. It took three to four
years for the calves to be full grown.
In that time they grew nearer and dearer to Julia’s heart.
Little Matana was Julia’s most recent challenge. She belonged to the innkeeper Thaddeus. She had been born unattended to the innkeeper’s
cow in a field far from the inn. It was
a difficult birth and by the time Thaddeus discovered the cow and its calf, it
was too late to save Matana’s mother.
Thaddeus brought the newborn calf to Julia’s family and asked for
help. Julia could tell this calf was a
fighter and she was determined to do all she could. With time, Julia felt blessed to see God’s
hand at work as He transformed the small and fragile Matana into a sturdy and
strong calf. In looking at Matana now,
it was hard to believe her difficult start in life. Matana was Julia’s favorite, but once she was
well it was time for her to be returned to the inn. The streets were crowded and abuzz with
stories. Julia listened as she walked
and each tale seemed more unbelievable than the last. Shepherds were talking about heavenly
messengers and choirs of angels. Others
were talking about a star, more brilliant than any ever before seen. And still others went on about kings with
gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
Julia welcomed the distraction because it eased her heavy heart. She could not imagine that any of it was
true. As she made her way to the inn’s
stable she realized many others were also headed in that direction. When she arrived, she found Thaddeus and many neighbors in the middle of it all. There
was the Christ Child. In an instant,
Julia knew all she had heard was indeed true.
Her heart was no longer heavy.
She knew she was in the presence of a true miracle and that all would be
well. As she brought Matana to Thaddeus,
he shook his head. Julia realized that
Matana no longer belonged to Thaddeus or to Julia. Matana was a gift from God and how they cared
for the animal was their gift in return.
Now it belonged to the Savior, and Julia’s heart was at peace.