The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary
by Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich
10. THE BLESSED VIRGIN FORESEES THE APPROACH OF THE THREE HOLY KINGS.
[December 5 ^th:] Mary had had a vision of the approach of the three
holy kings while they were resting in the tent of the king of Causur.
She also saw that the latter intended to erect an altar in honor of her
Child. She told this to St. Joseph and Elizabeth, and asked that they
should clear out the Cave of the Nativity and make everything ready in
time for the reception of the kings.
The people because of whom Mary had yesterday retreated into the other
cave were visitors who had come out of curiosity. There were many such
in the last few days. Today Elizabeth went home to Juttah with a
servant who came to fetch her.
[December 6 ^th to 8 ^th:] These were quieter days in the Cave of the
Nativity, and the Holy Family was generally alone. Only Mary's
maidservant, a robust, serious, and unpretentious person of some thirty
years, was there. She was a childless widow, related to Anna, who had
given her a home. Her late husband had been very severe with her
because she went so often to the Essenes, for she was very devout and
was hoping for the salvation of Israel. So he was angry with her, just
as today bad men are angry because their wives go to church too often.
He left her and afterwards died.
In the last few days there came no more of those insistent beggars who
had demanded alms at the cave with curses and abuse. They were on their
way to Jerusalem for the Maccabees' Feast of the Consecration of the
Temple.  This feast really begins on the 25 ^th day of the month
Kislev, but as this fell on the evening of Friday, December 7 ^th, in
the year of Jesus' birth, that is to say, on the eve of the Sabbath, it
was postponed to the evening of Saturday, December 8 ^th, or the 26 ^th
day of Kislev. It lasted eight days.
(Thus the sixth day after the Circumcision was the 25 ^th day of
Kislev, so that the Circumcision happened on the nineteenth day of
Kislev, and Jesus' birth on the twelfth day of Kislev.)
Joseph kept the Sabbath under the lamp in the Cave of the Nativity with
Mary and the maidservant. On Saturday evening the Feast of the
Consecration of the Temple began. Joseph had fastened lamp-brackets, in
three places in the cave, on each of which he lit seven little lamps.
All is quiet now; the many visitors came because they were on their way
to the festival. The nurse came to Mary every day now. Anna often sends
messengers with presents who take news back to her. Jewish women do not
suckle their children for long without other nourishment, and even when
He was only a few days old the Infant Jesus was given a pap made of the
pith of some rush which is light, nourishing, and sweet to taste. In
the day-time the donkey is generally outside at pasture and only spends
the night in the cave.