It was dawn. At least, according to the bright light that was streaming into the cave it was. Joseph stretched and stifled a yawn. The night before had seemed so much like a dream. It did happen—right?
The babe...Jesus was born and a few hours afterwards, the shepherds arrived. They streamed in, asking if this was where the Messiah was. After they left, it was only a matter of time before some of the townspeople arrived. Some of them brought blankets and supplies for the new baby.
He smiled wearily. It had been a long night. Mary was still asleep, nestled into a pile of clean hay covered by her cloak and a blanket over her form. One of her strong hands rested on the side of the stone manger...and Joseph’s eyes followed her arm to her hand to the sleeping babe.
The newborn began stirring. His small lips formed into a yawn and the gray eyes opened. Joseph smiled and stood, pausing long enough to tuck his cloak over Mary, and reached down to pick up the now awake Jesus.
Brown eyes met gray and for a long moment, Joseph could not help but to compare his son to Mary as he cradled the small boy close.
My son! I have a son!
Jesus had Mary’s nose and mouth all right.
Joseph smiled down at the small babe and stepped outside. “You caused a lot of commotion last night, Jesus. Did you know that the shepherds came last night? They were telling stories about Adonia sending Angels and scaring them.”
Joseph paused and tucked the only clean towel that the shepherd had left tighter around the swaddling clothes. It was chilly this morning.
Joseph chuckled and continued to pace, to keep himself warm. “You probably knew and planned everything; that is what Mary would have done...you need to watch out for your mother, she’s mischievous, she is.”
The babe wrinkled his nose as Joseph settled down on a boulder and eased Jesus onto his lap between his knees. “Don’t take me wrong son, I love your mother—but she’s sometimes a handful.” He chuckled faintly, brushing a callused finger against the soft cheek. “You aren’t going to be as bad as she is, are you?”
Jesus turned his head and latched onto the finger with his mouth, suckling hungrily and Joseph smiled. “You’re hungry, huh? I guess your mother will have to take care of that.”
Jesus contorted his face up and responded with a thin cry. Joseph lifted the crying babe back up and began to pace again.
“I know, son...but your mother needs to sleep a little longer too,” He crooned.
“Joseph?” Mary’s voice caused Joseph to look over to the entrance to the cave. Mary was standing there, holding his cloak around her shoulders. Despite her dark hair being disheveled, Mary was still beautiful to Joseph.
“I think he’s hungry.”
Mary gave him a look, one of those that said that Joseph was once again stating the obvious, and he grinned sheepishly.
“I was trying to let you sleep a little bit—it was a long night last night. Besides, I was having a father and son chat for a while.”
Mary just raised an eyebrow at Joseph and extended her hands for Jesus. “I’ll take care of his empty belly, and then you can finish your chat with him.” She offered, with a wink and then ducked back into the cave.
Joseph stayed outside of the cave, once again pacing, this time shuffling his feet. He needed to go back into Bethlehem...to find a house to live in for a while and a job. This was home now.
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