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Quiet Talks About Jesus by S. D. Gordon

The Bethlehem Fog.

Then it was that Jesus came. Strange to say, there is a shadow over His coming from the beginning. A gray chilling shadow of the sort of gray that a stormy sky sometimes shows, gray tingeing into slaty black. Yet it was the coming that made the shadow. It takes light, and some thick thing like a block, and some distance for perspective, to make a shadow. The nearer the light to the block thing the blacker the shadow. Here the light came close to some thick blocks; of stupid thickness; human blocks grown more toughly thick by the persistent resisting of any such transparent thing as light.

This was a foggy shadow. A fog is always made by influences from below. A lowering temperature chills the air, and brings down its moisture in the shape of a gray subtle pervasive mist, that blurs the outlook, and often gathers and holds black smoke, and mean poisonous odors and gases from bog and swamp. Such a fog endangers both health and life. This was just such a shadowing fog. There was a decided drop in the temperature, a sudden chill, a fog formed that sucked up the poison of the marshes, and threatened to stifle the baby breath of the new-born King.

A subtle, intangible, but terribly sure something haunts and hunts the King from the first. His virgin mother is suspected by the one nearest her of the most serious offense that can be charged against a woman. The shadow that later grew to inky blackness came ahead of the man, and, under the stable eaves, waited grimly His arrival. The feverish green of Herod's eyes will be content with nothing but a new, bright, running red, and plenty of it. Satan's plan of killing was started early. He was not particular about the way it was done. The first attempt was at Bethlehem. The venomous spittle oozed out there first. But he must move along natural channels: just now, a murderous king's jealous dread of a possible rival.

The first hint of the actual coming of the long expected One is from the star-students of the east. Their long journey and eager questioning bring the birth of Jesus before the official circle of the nation. It is most significant that His birth causes at once a special meeting of the nation's ruling body. Herod was troubled, of course. But -- all Jerusalem was troubled with him. Here is a surprising sympathy. It reflects at once vividly the situation. It was strangely suggestive that news of their King coning should trouble these national leaders. These devout star-watchers are wise in the source of information they came to. These leaders knew. They quickly pointed out the spot where the coming One should be born.

A pure virgin under cruel suspicion, a roomless inn, a village filled with heart-broken mothers, a quick flight on a dark night to a foreign land by a young mother and her babe, the stealthy retirement into a secluded spot away from his native province, a fellow feeling between a red-handed king and the nation's leaders -- ugh! an ugly, deadly fog.

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