Mary sat huddled against the chilly breeze, praying that Joseph would find somewhere for them to spend the night.
As he had walked off, Joseph tried to be cheerful, but Mary could see the worry on his face. They could tell by the large throng that the little village of Bethlehem was overcrowded. His chance of finding a room was slim. Joseph had scrimped and saved for weeks to have enough money for lodging in the inn, and they had planned their meals carefully. Joseph’s business at the carpenter shop had fallen off sharply since he married her.
Mary stretched her tired back and thought back over the past few months. All this began when an angel came to her to tell her of God’s Great Plan. She recounted her conversation with Gabriel for the millionth time. She remembered the devastated look on Joseph’s face when she told him she was expecting a baby. She thought about the day he came bursting into her house with the most radiant smile she’d ever seen. The angel had visited him, too! She remembered how he had taken hold of her shoulders with trembling excitement and cried, “Mary, he even told me what to name him!”
“JESUS!!” they had both said at the same time. How they had hugged and laughed and cried – all at the same time! What a blessed relief it had been to have Joseph back, and what a comfort he had been these past few months! The condescending looks, judgmental remarks, the social isolation – they had been through it all. But it didn’t matter! They were a part of God’s Great Plan – He would protect them.
The baby moved, and Mary smiled. She couldn’t wait to look on his face and hold this tiny body in her arms! What a special child he would be! She and Joseph knew he would be born tonight. The prophet Micah had foretold her baby’s birth in Bethlehem. The census was all part of God’s Great Plan – Joseph had figured that out. As she had packed the necessary items for the journey, she had included some “swaddling cloth.” She had saved long and bargained hard at the market place for that warm, soft cloth with which to wrap her newborn baby.
She could tell by Joseph’s walk that he was discouraged. She knew him so well! He explained that the kindly innkeeper had agreed to let them spend the night in the stable – there were no more rooms in Bethlehem. At least they would be out of the cold wind and have some privacy. She smiled at him and touched his face. “It’s fine Joseph. Remember the prophets. It’s part of God’s Great Plan.” Joseph brightened, squared his shoulders, and helped her up.
That night in a cold, dark cave that served as a barn, God came into this world. He came with a divine mission – to die on a Roman cross to give us eternal life. He came to fullfill God’s Great Plan established before the Garden of Eden existed.
The Creator, the Lamb of God, the Messiah – now a tiny, baby boy warmly wrapped by his mother in soft, white cloth. The Almighty God, the Final Sacrifice, the Savior – asleep in a feeding trough on some fresh, clean hay carefully arranged by a poor, simple carpenter.
Reflection – In what specific ways can you incorporate the coming of Christ into your everyday life?