The weight of the baby on her small frame strained her back. Mary had not slept a full night in weeks. Her thoughts sometimes ran over her prayers. She worried she would never be good enough for the Son of God. With Joseph, she felt love and safety. After their trouble in the very beginning, Joseph honored Mary wholly, and she him. But this baby. She knew how to take care of a baby. Mary helped with each of her brothers.
What could I possibly do to be good enough for God?
Unaware of the time, Mary rolled to her side, slid her legs over the bed, and hoisted herself to a sitting position. The bathroom was further than was convenient. She needed an early start.
The house was frigid. Temperatures must have fallen overnight. Mary wanted to hurry to get back under the blankets. She had no sweater or coat that would close around her belly.
Pausing to look out the window, the half moon shone brightly.
Half of what? Where’s the other half? How come there are so many mysteries of You, Lord? Will everyone know this boy is Lord? Will I?
She heard Joseph calling.
“I’ll be right there. Well, in a few minutes I suppose.”
He came from behind and hugged her belly.
“Joseph, please no. I must pee.”
“Mary, this is almost the end. We will get to meet him so very soon, our baby Jesus. But first, there is something we must do. Get ready because we are heading to Bethlehem. I am to report there for Census.”
His words jumbled together. Confusion grabbed her. Without responding she headed to relieve herself.
“Mary, did you hear what I said?”
Joseph couldn’t help but repeat, though he knew better than to pursue her when she needed space. The duty of head of household was ever-mounting on his workman’s shoulders. Though time was close to the birth, they could not delay or they would be in opposition to the government.
Mary tried to appear thankful for the donkey. Joseph was trying so hard to make this untimely trip comfortable for her. She reminded herself he does not have a life growing inside, one that requires stability and calmness. Bouncing around on a donkey’s back for miles seemed opposite of all that. With the alternative of walking, she relented.
Joseph was still inside gathering provisions.
Mary looked into the steed’s eyes and prayed, “Lord, what beautiful animals You have made, what wonder and care of them. This donkey has hearty muscles and determination in his eyes. If he is Your way for me to get to Bethlehem, Lord, may it be so.”
“We are almost there, Mary. Oh I know how tired you must be.”
No you have no idea.
“We will find a place to rest your head when we get to town. It’s later than I wanted to arrive, but we are traveling with precious cargo, that’s you my dear wife and our son.”
Mary thought it odd that they saw only a few others on this journey. It wouldn’t be until later that she learned Joseph waited to the last possible day to leave, hoping and praying for the baby to be born before they left. Census had to do with taxes. Joseph had worked but not steadily these last few months. Surely there are lesser taxes for those with less money?
Mary’s worry was interrupted by the voice of God who overcame all other thoughts:
Mary, I am with you. I will never leave you. No matter how hard life on earth is, you are in My favor as Gabriel told you. Though life circumstances change, I do not. My Word will stand forever.
Looking up to heaven, Mary opened her hands to receive this blessed assurance.
Thank you for reading along.
Last post tomorrow! Join me then to celebrate the birth of our long-awaited Messiah.
Remember. No matter what you are going through this month, this year, this day, God gives us the blessed assurance of His presence, His grace, His favor upon those who love Him.
Truly, we are never without gifts from heaven. We just need to open our hands to receive them.
All photos are from Pixabay.com.
“Mercy unto you, and peace and love, be multiplied” (Jude 1:2).
Love in Christ,