What If Bethlehem Had Smartphones?

by | Dec 14, 2011 | Blogs, Fire in My Bones

I wonder if more people would believe in Jesus if
His birth had been a trending topic on Twitter.

Matthew and Luke are the only Gospel writers who
wrote about Jesus’ birth, and we aren’t sure who provided them with firsthand
reports. Jesus’ mother was among the earliest Christian disciples, so we assume
she shared her story with them. All details were passed down orally, without
the aid of technology. There were no radios, televisions, tape recorders,
iPads, walkie-talkies, cameras, cellphones or fax machines in first century
Israel. The only form of “instant messaging” required a guy to run from one
king to another over a period of days.

I wonder: What if the key players in the Christmas
story had access to wireless devices? Pardon my literary license as I imagine
the script:

Facebook update, 01/15/02 B.C., posted 4 hours ago
Elizabeth > Mary

So glad you can visit us! Zacharias is still not
talking (so weird!), but his eyes brightened when I told him you were on your
way. We are still in awe of God’s goodness to us. I feel so old to be a mom. smiley-emoticon Zach says he knows the baby is a boy. We
plan to name him John even though our relatives disapprove!

Of course there was no access to Facebook, Twitter
or iPhones when Jesus was born. Yet the story of his birth immediately went
viral, and the message the angels told the shepherds is still spreading
globally
.”

Text sent 01/21/02 B.C., 5:28 p.m.
Mary > Joseph

Arrived safely at Elizabeth’s. She is such a
blessing. Still can’t believe what is happening. It’s like a dream. Luv you!

Text sent 03/21/02 B.C., 9:02 a.m.
Zacharias > Uncle Levi

The baby’s name is John! No more discussion!

Tweet sent 11/30/01 B.C., 2:49 p.m.
nazareth_carpenter
 
Joseph, Son of Jacob
Just got bad news. Must go to Bethlehem 4 census. My
wife is not in any shape to travel. Why did Caesar have to pick THIS TIME 2 tax
us all?

Facebook update, 12/20/01 B.C., posted 30 minutes
ago
Mary > Elizabeth

Looks like it will be a three-day trip to Bethlehem.
The roads are bumpy and my back is so sore. I’m glad you had your baby before
me—you give me courage! And you are NOT old! So glad to hear Zach got his voice
back. Pray for us!

Text sent 12/22/01 B.C., 7:36 p.m.
Joseph
> Uncle Melchi
Just arrived in Bethlehem. This town is crazy. Can
you put us up in your place? Sorry for the inconvenience. We’ll stay
anywhere—inside or outside.

Text sent 12/22/01 B.C., 7:41 p.m.
Uncle Melchi > Joseph

Just come on. We’ve got room. I will move the
animals inside if it gets cold.

Tweet sent 12/25/01 B.C., 3:04 a.m.
nazareth_carpenter
 
Joseph, Son of Jacob
It’s a boy! And he doesn’t look anything like me! (I wonder why? LOL)

Tweet sent 12/25/01 B.C., 3:32 a.m.
JustAShepherd
 Simeon, Son of Gershom
Whoa! A bunch of angels just showed up here on the
hillside! Shimon took photos but he was so scared! Will try to post later.
Gotta run!

Facebook update, 12/27/01 B.C., posted 2 hours ago
Mary > Elizabeth

So much to tell you. Jesus is fine, Joseph
is exhausted and now I am the one who feels old! You won’t believe what we had
to use for a crib. Oh, and we had some really interesting visitors the morning
after the baby was born. Shepherds! As if we needed more sheep around here!

Tweet sent 12/28/01 B.C., posted 30 minutes ago
JustAShepherd
 Simeon, Son of Gershom
The photos Shimon took of the angels didn’t turn
out. Too blurry. I wonder if anyone will believe our story now.

Sheep_Keeper, FlockMaster and 45 others retweeted JustAShepherd
2 hours ago

Tweet sent 12/30/01 B.C., posted 1 hour ago
Flockmaster
  Shimon, Son
of Hezron
Photos or no photos, it’s true! A king was born here
last week! Angels don’t just show up here everyday. #whathappenedinbethlehem

Facebook update, 12/31/01 B.C., posted 3 hours ago
Caleb, Son of Geshan > Simeon, Son of Gershom

Bro, I haven’t had much sleep since that night. What
does all this mean? Why did that angel come to us? It’s not like we’re anybody
special.

Facebook reply, 12/31/01 B.C., posted 2 hours ago
Simeon, Son of Gershom > Caleb, Son of Geshan

I know! I can’t stop talking about it and my wife
thinks I’m crazy. I can’t get those haunting words out of my head: “Glory to
God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom He is
pleased!” One day I’m going to write a song about what we saw.

*  *  *  * 
*  *  *  *  * 
*  *  *  *

Of course there was no access to Facebook, Twitter
or iPhones when Jesus was born. Yet the story of his birth immediately went
viral, and the message the angels told the shepherds is still spreading
globally. I encourage you to use every form of technology available to let
others know that the baby born in Bethlehem is the Savior of the world.

J. Lee Grady is the former editor
of
Charisma. You can follow him on
Twitter at
leegrady. His most recent book is 10 Lies Men Believe
(Charisma House).

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