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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Day's End (01/01/14)

TITLE: According to Plan
By Christina Banks


I had a carefully constructed plan for my life, and this isn’t it.

I might be a poor, uneducated man but I know what I want from life – a wife, children, and a steady line of work to put food on the table. Last year, when I’d secured my betrothal to a virtuous and lovely maiden, I was sure my future would unfold according to plan. Now, I’m sure of nothing.

The teachers say the mind of the Lord is unknowable, but it would be nice to have some insight. I wish I knew what He was doing.

I feel like a coward, fleeing the scandal surrounding the pregnancy and our quick wedding, but the whispered remarks have driven away business and I must provide for my family, even this child who isn’t mine. In a new city we can begin again, without the stains of the past. It was with that hope that I embraced the call for registration and its required journey to the home of my ancestors. Even in her delicate state, my wife was eager to join me. But now, I wonder if we were too hasty. This trip has been hard on her and I’m afraid she may give birth too soon.

We should have arrived yesterday, but the travel was more difficult than we anticipated and now my wife’s pains have started. A man has no place at the birthing of a child, but I may not have a choice. There is no one, but me, to attend to her until we make it to the city. Please haste our feet, Lord.

The city is nothing as we expected. The streets teem with people, travelers like us, and the crowd jostles us. My wife's pains are more regular now as I search for a place to birth the babe. She doesn’t complain, but I read the desperation growing on her face as we are turned away again and again. Are there no rooms left in the city?

A stable. The only place I can find is a stable. I am not a violent man, but I want to hit something. My wife deserves more than this. I apologize again as I try to make her comfortable on the straw. This wasn’t my plan. What are you doing Lord?

Finally, the sounds of my wife’s travail give way to the sweet mewing of a newborn. As promised, she’s born a son. With clumsy fingers, I assist in the swaddling. My wife is exhausted, but still she summons the energy to suckle the babe before seeking her own slumber. Nothing today went according to plan, but we are finally here and the baby was born safe. I have much to be thankful for. I place the contented child in a small manger before joining my wife in rest.

Excited voices rouse me from sleep. As I wipe grit from my eyes, a group of men enter the stable. They smell strongly of sheep and I wonder if we will be sharing the small space with a flock, but I am surprised as the men come in quiet reverence and kneel before the manger. My wife watches in silent acceptance, but I must know how this has come to be. In soft tones they answer all my questions and I believe them fully. Their story is no more fantastic than my own.

As the shepherds leave, I stare in silent wonder at the sleeping babe in the manger. Was this the Lord’s plan all along?


Luke 2:7 – And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

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This article has been read 154 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Linda Goergen01/09/14
Oh what a difference that day’s end made to the world, as Jesus was born! Such a beautifully and realistically told story from Joseph’s perspective! I thoroughly enjoyed the read!
Jan Ackerson 01/10/14
I’d love to have your input into the free writing lessons available on the FaithWriters forums. This week’s lesson is on writing devotionals, and next week will cover writing on topic for the weekly challenge. Look for it at http://www.faithwriters.com/Boards/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=67, or if you’re on Facebook, you can “like” Faithwriters Writing Lessons.
CD Swanson 01/11/14
Creative entry and so true about our Savior. Great job, loved it.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/11/14
I enjoyed the retelling of Jesus' birth. I suspected right away that it was Joseph speaking, but that made it even stronger in my opinion. I haven't heard many stories about Joseph's POV. I think stories like this are great because they make the reader think, This is a story I'll remember for quite some time and that's a good sign. :-)
Ellen Carr 01/11/14
A lovely and powerful re-telling of Jesus' birth from Joseph's point of view. Joseph's important part in it all is often down-played so this is particularly appealing. It wasn't easy for Joseph. Well told.
Lynda Schultz 01/15/14
A few issues with tenses and spelling/verb forms, but it's a great story. I'm sure Joseph would have loved to do things "better" particularly since this was God's Son, so I can imagine that he was frustrated and confused by how things all worked out. You made me feel his feelings and that's good stuff.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/16/14
Congratulations on ranking 22 overall!