The First Christmas – a short story

I look back at Mary, slowly walking. She has not complained about her discomfort. She insisted on walking until the labour pains started, of which she hasn’t yet. If she has, she probably wouldn’t tell me. The journey to Bethlehem is so long. Why did Ceaser declare a sensis? Why now of all times?

We continue, and after many days we are now close to Bethlehem. I pray the baby doesn’t come yet. I think back to when we were betrothed. Before she became pregnant.

She seemed shy, yet sweet. Our parents arranged and chaperoned our meetings. Then I remember the day she came to me. She was alone, how she came without her parents knowledge I am not sure, but she was flushed in the face and it was the most she had ever spoken to me.
“Joseph, I must tell you something.”
Were her words when she found me working. My father had just left, so I think she was hiding. She startled me,
“Mary! What are you doing here?”
“I don’t have much time. An angel of the Lord appeared to me.” I stopped.
“An angel appeared to me and told me that I was chosen by the Lord to.. to bear his Son.” I was confused. Bear his Son?
“What do you mean?”
“I’m pregnant.” I dropped whatever I was holding.
“By who?”
“The Lord’s Holy Spirit” I shook my head.
“That’s not possible. I don’t believe you.”
“But I am. It’s the truth.”
“Mary.” I controlled my temper. “Don’t insult me. You have done something I never thought possible. I need time to myself.  Leave” Her face fell. She nodded and left. My father returned, I didn’t speak to him of our conversation, but my first thought was I cannot marry this girl. I must break this off. I pondered the best way to do this without disgracing her family, for they had been good to me.

I remember going to bed that night, seething with anger. Then I had a dream; an angel of the Lord appeared to me with a message. He was a glorious and terrifying sight.  Then he spoke
“Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Upon awaking, my anger left. I felt guilty. I knew what I had to do.

Our ceremony was small, mainly due to the fact that gossip had spread; people found out about her pregnancy.  They did not believe the truth, they believed it was another man’s child. Our family revere and fear the I Am, and believed.  We wondered the plans God had for us. We had hoped the Lord would be kind enough to reveal to others what he revealed to us, but we discovered who our true family and friends are.

“Joseph”. Mary’s voice brings me back to the present. She groaned. I stop our procession.
“What is it, is the baby coming?” She nods.
“My waters broke a while back. I’m in pain. I’m in so much pain.” She moans. I move our belongings, and help her onto the donkey. There is still room for our stuff, as our rations have decreased, and we are less than an hour’s walk from the inns.
“Not far now.” I tell her. Please let us find somewhere to stay before she gives birth I pray. And the stress I feel, goes. I trust the Lord will provide.


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