By Dan Flynn, The Jerusalem Gazette, c. 3758 (Hebrew Calendar)
(AP) The streets of Jerusalem have been in a frenzy, as the repercussions of Caesar Augustus' census order have created chaos in the city. Visitors wander everywhere, seeking polling locations to register their families before the census concludes. Street vendors are overrun with customers, while suppliers are reporting a growing scarcity of goods and hotel space. Retailers say there are no available hotel rooms, as far away as Bethlehem.
While the crowds of travelers press the city's infrastructure, at least the weather has cooperated. This week has been sunny and mild, while evenings have been cool and quite clear. Local astrologers have appreciated viewing the stars, to chart their movements. Some locals say an unusual star has appeared on the western horizon, though it may be meteorological activity over the Great Sea. No doubt, the superstitious will say this portends some great, coming event.
The communities surrounding Jerusalem have also been flooded with people traveling back to their ancestral homes. Bethlehem, in particular, has been hit hard by the many descendents of King David returning to his small hamlet (to participate in the census). Also, many admit they've turned this Roman edict into forced family vacations, and they are keen to see the latest museum pieces from King David's "early years" collection, including the priceless sword he used to cut off Goliath's head.
Though the streets have been overcrowded, crime has been under control, says the local Roman commissary. There have been few disturbances, except for a minor report by some Ephrathah shepherds about a fiery display in the sky outside Bethlehem. Investigations have failed to verify their claims. At the same time, reports of several unattended flocks of sheep have been reported just outside the hills of Bethlehem. The Jerusalem Gazette is sending a reporter to investigate.
In other news, we have record of three babies born yesterday. In Jerusalem, twin girls were born to local vineyard owner, Joel A. and his wife Naomi. And, in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary (visitors from Nazareth, last names unknown) welcomed their first child, a baby boy. We don't have names yet, but both sets of parents should be providing them at the Temple within eight days.
King Herod has announced a parade set for later this week, to honor Caesar's edict and conclude the census. All else in the city is calm. The Temple and it's courtyard remain a busy beehive, though regulars like Simeon and the widow Anna appear to be keeping Jerusalem's citizens in a perpetual state of piety.
Overall, it looks like just another day in an ordinary week, under Roman rule. Perhaps years from now, we will think differently.
-- Reporting from Jerusalem, this is Dan Flynn.