The road was hot and her back ached. She could feel the baby low in her belly. She sat alone on the donkey as Joseph went to check for any available space. She just wanted to be done with the trip, to find rest off of the back of this mule. She repeated the scriptures to ward off irritation and prayed fervently for reassurance and comfort. Joseph returned, ashamed to offer what little he could find for his new bride whom he knew was uncomfortable, but it was all he had to give.
They arrived at the stable, and he helped Mary descend off the donkey. Joseph unloaded the few things they brought with them and Mary praised God for shelter. At first she shrugged off the clenching tightness in her belly as a side-effect of long weary travel, but soon the pain intensified and cycled and she was aware of what would be – a baby in a barn, a saviour in the straw. She wondered why here Lord? Why now? But she had seen enough even at her young age to know that the Lord has plans that do not always follow the ways of man. As the pressure grew stornger, she began to fear and wonder if she could really do this. Joseph stayed near her side and her eyes searched his face for strength. His eyes were closed as he prayed for help from God. Mary could feel the baby pressing on, ready to enter this world and her flesh tore open – raw wound bringing life, the foreshadow of flesh yet to be torn, and life yet to be given. The piercing cry of this child …… (won’t you join me over here for the rest of the story?)