Happy Christmas Eve!! Wow, time has crept by super fast this week. I can’t believe today I’m posting the second to last part of He Found Favour in Her! How have you enjoyed the story so far?
I’m afraid I must keep this short today, as family time has a precedent today. 😉 So I hope you enjoy this 5th part! Click here to read Part 4: The Shunning
Dust was everywhere. Gritting against Mary’s sweaty back, drying out her lips, and caking her hands, face and any exposed part of her body. It was everywhere.
And the noise! Lines of people stretched out like ripples in an ocean almost as far as the eye could see. People were behind, around, and in front of Mary. And they were loud people. Babies cried, children whined, Mothers ‘shushed’, Fathers shouted at the animals, and the animals voiced their annoyance at having to carry heavy loads with loud brays and groans.
Swaying on the donkey’s bony back, Mary sighed. How much longer?
When Mary had stood her ground and told her parents that she was going with Joseph no matter what they said, she hadn’t realized what her declaration would entail. They were only five days into their trip, but already she was exhausted and ready to be in Bethlehem. The constant movement, dust, and noise was dragging on her nerves, and all she wanted was a quiet place to prepare for the birth of her baby.
At least she had plenty of time to think.
While riding the donkey, she let her thoughts drift back over the last eight months, right back to the day the angel told her she would carry God’s son. She remembered the overwhelming fear, the tiny sliver excitement and the dragging worry. Telling her parents the news and seeing their disappointment over her seeming unfaithfulness was heart-breaking. They still didn’t understand. Perhaps they never would.
Oh Lord… Mary sent up a silent prayer. Help my parents to understand. Open their eyes so they can see your plan being carried out.
Her thoughts drifted on to her visit with Elizabeth. Elizabeth had understood. Perhaps it was because they shared a common bond. They both carried miracle children, for whom God had special plans. Elizabeth’s wisdom and welcoming home was just what Mary had needed during those weeks of questioning and doubts. During her visit, Mary had seen Elizabeth’s miracle son be born, and had marvelled at God’s amazing plan for her people.
But the visit had to end, and going back to Nazareth had been a rude shock. By then, Mary’s pregnancy was clear for all to see, and the reaction to it was unfavourable. People had talked. A lot.
Looking back, Mary didn’t know what she would have done without Joseph.
But at first she didn’t know what to expect from him. From the time the angel came to when she came back from Elizabeth’s she hadn’t once spoken to him.
But what a surprise when she finally did! Mary smiled as she remembered. Joseph had come to her when she was working out in the fields. “Mary. Don’t worry. I know, I understand!” Mary remembered she shock that she felt, looking into Joseph’s animated face. “I have seen an angel too! I was going to divorce you quietly, but the angel told me to take you as my wife. For you are carrying God’s son!” The two had praised God together.
A few weeks later, they had partaken of the marriage bread, and became married. People talked at that too. But Mary and Joseph and bore it. Together. They knew that they were carrying out God’s plan, and they trusted that God knew what he was doing.
The census had come as a shock. All were to go to their hometown to be counted, by orders of the Caesar. Joseph’s hometown was Bethlehem, a ten day’s journey south of Nazareth. Orders were orders, so despite the distance he had to go to Bethlehem.
Joseph was of the mind to leave Mary behind and her parents agreed with him. The trip was too long and hard for a young, pregnant girl. But Mary had insisted on going. She would not let her husband go without her.
And so that was how she managed to be riding on a donkey, covered in dust, heavily pregnant, amongst a noisy crowd of people all on the same mission to get to their hometown to be counted.
Mary sighed again and shifted herself on the back of the donkey. Riding was only slightly better than walking, but Joseph insisted that she ride. She had submitted to him, only because she was too tired to argue. She licked her dusty lips, and inwardly hoped that it wouldn’t be much longer before they could take a break.
“Mary?” Joseph called back to her from where he was leading the donkey along the steep, dusty road.
“Are you well?”
“Yes, I am fine.”
Never mind my discomfort, I don’t want to trouble him anymore than is needful. He’s working so hard.
Then, seeming to answer Joseph too, the baby in Mary’s womb gave a hard kick and wriggled violently.
“Oh, little one! You are getting so strong!” Mary caressed her round belly with her hands, feeling the baby’s kicks and movements. “You will be ready to come out soon, won’t you? But not yet. Not yet little one. Wait till we get to Bethlehem.”
Oh God, please let us get there soon…
I hope that your Christmas Eve is joy-filled and frabjous! See you back here tomorrow for the final part of the story!