How Can I Possibly Go With You, Joseph
by E.J. Swanson
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What a conversation could have ensued between Mary and Joseph as they had to prepare for a journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem on orders from Augustus Caesar. I cannot imagine the struggle this couple had in light of Mary's condition.
"Joseph, it is 80 miles to Bethlehem. Can we travel with a caravan?" Mary asked.
"We will start with a caravan, Mary. It will be safer as we will likely travel through Samaria and there will be no lodging or hospitality offered there." Joseph was contemplating the problems associated with such a journey. He knew the Samaritans would not be hospitable. The journey through that land was hostile, fraught with bandits. Being in a caravan offered safety and comfort. He was hoping for companionship for Mary during the journey.
"Joseph, Hannah says the journey through Samaria would be shorter, but we have no means of travel but the donkey. You will have to walk all the way and we will not be able to keep up with the people. She says the caravan travels 20 miles a day. She is right, Joseph. What shall we do?"
Such a trip would be a four day journey. Hannah was right. Joseph could not keep up such a pace. After all, he was older than Mary, and it would endanger Mary. She is due to deliver the baby any day.
"We may have to go across the Jordan and detour around Samaria. It is longer, but saferů The trip may take us a week instead of 4 days, Mary. We will be alright. God will provide for our safety."
Mary knew Joseph was right. The baby stirred within her womb. She was afraid her presence would hinder Joseph's travel, but there was no choice. She must go with him. After all, Joseph was of the House of David. He had to be in Bethlehem for the taxing.
Mary prepared her swaddling clothes for the baby. She helped Joseph pack their needs for the journey.
As Joseph lifted her gently upon the donkey she kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you, Joseph. You are so kind and gentle to me. God chose you for this baby as surely as He chose me."
Joseph held Mary briefly and placed her on the back of the donkey, praying she was secure for the trip. "Father, he prayed, I must trust You."
Taking the rope in his hand he began the long journey with his precious cargo.
As the lights of Bethlehem shown in the distance, Joseph sighed a great sigh of relief. "Mary, we are there! God be praised."
"It is good, Joseph, for I know my time has come." Mary also signed a great sigh of relief.
The couple envisioned a nice, clean room in a local Inn. The city was crowded with people who had made similar journeys to be taxed by Caesar. Joseph and Mary were a little late to find a room in any Inn. Everything was full. "No Vacancy" signs were everywhere.
Joseph saw tears in Mary's eyes. Her pain must be great by now. "Do not be afraid, Mary. God did not bring us this far to abandon us now."
Mary remembered the angel saying the same word to her..."Do not be afraid...you are favored by God". Mary was not feeling favored right not.
Joseph came running from the last door of an Inn to let her know there was a manger...a stall..a stable for them to occupy. He was joyful at the prospect.
Gently, once again, Joseph took Mary down from the donkey. He spread his cloak down upon the soft hay and made a bed for his beloved Mary. The cattle seemed quiet as though they knew something awesome was about to happen.
It was not long before the cry of a newborn baby filled the stable. Joseph had never delivered a baby before and now he stood with the Son of God in his arms. Once again the gentle Joseph placed the babe in the arms of His mother.
Mary kissed the babe and cradled Him in her arms. She was in awe that this special infant was being entrusted to her. She pondered these things in her heart.
The journey was over. Mary could not imagine that the Journey had only just begun!!!
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Emily, you are a blessed mother, grandmother and a great grand mother. Wow. God had blessed you and given you the art of story telling. I am sure not a night or a day goes without, your grandchildren or great grandchildren listening with rapt attention as you weave one great story after another. God bless.