The First Christmas – a short story.

The labour pains come and go. This us awful. The pain is crippling and I wish we weren’t on the road.
“Not far now” Joseph calls as we head into the town. I pray we find somewhere to stay. Surely God wouldn’t let me give birth on the side of a road.

We approach the town. I see inns! This is promising! We ride up to an inn and Joseph knocks. I am focusing on my breath. After a couple of minutes, Joseph leads the donkey.
“No room?” I gasp. He shakes his head.
“The inn keeper said he was full. He also said due to the census, we may struggle to find a room.” I groan.
“You tokd them I was in labour?”
“Of course I did. They still said no.”

The next hour we go from inn to inn, being told there was no room. The pain was becoming unbearable. The last inn we come to. I get off the donkey.
“Mary, what are you doing?”
“I’m going to find us somewhere to stay.” I snap getting impatient.
I knock on the door.
“We need a room” I get out in between contractions.
“I’m sorry miss, we have none.” Suddenly, I’m angry. My labour pains are closer together, I’m in pain this baby is going to come and I’d rather not give birth in the gutter.
“I’m in labor.  The baby is coming. I don’t care if you only have a stable, I will NOT give birth to my child in the gutter!” I scream at the Inn keeper.
“Mary! Calm down.”
“No. I’m in pain, I want somewhere I can get comfortable!”
“We have a stable, you can stay there.” The inn keeper meekly states.
“Fine. That will do”, I gasp.
“My…my wife can help you, I’ll send her out to assist with delivery.”
“Thank you.” I fume, breathing in between the pain.

The inn keeper and Joseph help me through to the stable. I feel the urge to push.
“Joseph.  He’s coming; the baby is coming!” The inn keeper hurries off, I sit on some hay bales, and attempt to get into a comfortable position. A woman rushes back with cloth and she picks up a sickle in the stable. I start to push. The pain is intense. I have a vague sense of where Joseph is, and I scream.
“Keep pushing, you’re doing well” the woman speaks to me. She gives a small piece of cloth to Joseph.
“Wet this, and wipe her brow” she instructs. Joseph obeys. My forehead feels nice when the cool cloth is pressed against me. I push again and scream; in agony and also in an effort to get this child out of me. God, please let Him come out NOW I pray, hoping this will be over soon.

I push again.
“I see it’s head!” The woman cries, “push again, love. You’re nearly done.” I take one more breath and push. This goes on, goodness knows how long. The end result seems so close, but so far. Joseph and the woman keep telling me it’s not long to go, but all the while telling me to push.

Finally, I give one final scream and a push, and I hear a cry. “Wash him down, and give the baby to his mother.” I’m exhausted, I just want to sleep, but then I am handed the baby. God’s Son. The promised One. And all I can think is how beautiful my little boy is.


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