Ah so long ago in the cold a young mother sit on a donkey, her husband looked in her face with eyes of love. My dear Mary, I worry about us taking this Journey now, you with child. She looked on his rugged face, a smile touched her lips. Joseph, I will be fine and the child will be fine, God is with us. Oh but Mary, surely the taxes can wait, or let me go alone. Her patient smile, as she reached out and stroked the hair of his beard, lead the way, God is with us.
As they started out at the break of day, the bag of bread, cheese and slices of lamb wrapped in skin, a water skin bottle, strapped behind her. The carpenter took the leather rope and led them out on too the well worn dirt road. The way from Nazareth to Bethlehem to give their due to the government.
They had to travel 90 miles to the city of Joseph's ancestors: south along the flatlands of the Jordan River, then west over the hills surrounding Jerusalem, and on into Bethlehem. It was a fairly grueling trip.
A young woman, some learned folks say she was possibly between the age of 12 to 14, and he was much older. A young virgin that had been visited by by God and bore the holy a child. A simple carpenter that loved her and was willing to not only accept the child as his own but to love mother and child and give God thanks every time he looked into her dark eyes.
As with any man engaged to a woman when he learned she was with child and they had not touched in such away, he was out of his mind with anguish. Yet a man of God when visited by an angel and told of the great gift bestowed upon him. Instead of anger he found joy. To raise up a son, a child that would grant great deliverance to the people. What a honor God choose him.
Young Mary nor the older Joseph understood all that was happening or the why or the how, they could not see the future. Yet as they traveled, and no doubt Mary felt the pain in her back, the stretching skin of her belly, she found that the joy and love she felt was the best medicine. As the wind beat around them and night found them, I am sure day dreams and thoughts and imaginations of what their son would be.
Joseph may have thought of young stout boy working by his side, learning to use hammer and nail. Mary may of thought of a rosy cheeked baby, no doubt counting his fingers and toes, and dreaming of his beautiful eyes and soft hair on his head. There was comfort in those dreams and hopes in his future.
As evening gathered it's darkness and Joseph helped Mary off the donkey he patted her belly. Mary, I find it hard to believe that soon we shall be parents and I frankly am a bit scared of the responsibility. She smiled, have no fear my husband, remember what the angles told us, this is more then just a child. Can you not feel it?
Feel what Mary, he said, as he lay a palette for her to sit upon and built a fire. The wind was singing its song and Mary pulled her wrap tighter. I feel, it is hard to put into words, I feel a burning of goodness in my loins. I feel the baby kick and I am washed with joy, it grows and something else grows in me as well. I see the poor and I feel a new sense of compassion.
I see the lame and I cry, I see the fatherless and I want to help, the aged I want to comfort and I want to hug the widow and kiss the stranger on their cheek and give them my bread. What is this thing that feels me more so even then the child in my womb, what name has this feeling of joy with mercy and compassion?
Joseph pulled at his beard, I recall the prophet once said God is love, another proclaimed him as a spirit. Young Mary, looked toward heaven, look and see. He cast his eye toward heaven and behold the stars and one that shown with a brightness it seemed to dance in the sky.
Mary said, I think it is as that star, what is now apart of me can not be hidden, it is a light that shines in the deepest darkness, it shines and touches all that draw near. Love, yes my husband, I carry love and now love is part of of who I am. It spreads and its beams reach to the world and not to us alone.
As he handed her bread and lamb he smiled. My wife I think, this which we have cannot be hidden and like a candle in the window it shall be seen, for love is like faith.
Like faith, how Joseph?
Love is simply the knowing, it is accepting, it is and yet it has no thing you can look at say that started it. It's not like a seed you look at and plant and behold and watch it grow. No, it just is, it somehow compasses about us like the air we breath. We do not know its origin but know it's source is from God.
Faith is knowing, it's not based on what we can see or explain, faith is a seed that abounds in us like the child in your belly, it is, but where does it have its begining, why it too must be a gift from above.
As the nestled under the thick blankets of wool and slumbered perhaps their thoughts pondered the mystery of life. The next day the continued on and the next. Till at last as the came to the outskirt of the city, the night surrounded about them and that bright dancing star glowed ever so bright
They saw a small inn and as the inn keeper came to the door to declare no room, not a bed left in the place. He felt the light of the star on his face, he felt the beams of love that came from Mary's eyes and felt compassion. I have a stable, it's not much, but the walls will block the wind and the hay make a soft bed. You my friends are welcome to it.
As the donkey ate it's hay and Mary lay on her bed of hay she gave birth in the same manner as many a sheep had birthed a lamb even in this same place. As Joseph took the child in his hands from the depths of Mary's loins, he lifted him up, and taking swaddling cloth washed him and wrapped him and placed him in her arms. Mary looked and beheld, to day our lamb was born, here in this manger, behold the lamb of God.
There was Angels appearing and singing, a group of shepherds said they too had seen the star and worshiped the lamb. Love was born, sent from God, it's method unknown but it's source so known. That day in the humble way many a lamb was given we were given the meat, the bread of life. Love shown, and can not be hid and the star shines on in all of us that allows love and faith to be part of our being.