Joseph and Mary on the night everything changed

Joseph and Mary on the night everything changed December 24, 2018

“How ya feelin, Mary?” asked Joseph.

“Pregnant. Very pregnant.”

“Are you comfortable? Is your hay soft enough?”

“It is,” said Mary. “Thank you. And thanks for doing such a thorough job cleaning that feeding trough. I can’t believe our baby’s first crib will be a feeding trough.”

“No, no,” said Joseph. “It’s not a feeding trough. It’s a manger. Remember: Not trough. Manger.”

Mary looked at her husband lovingly. “You’re so funny. That is a better name for it.”

“We’re lucky we even got that. How could this dinky inn out in the middle of nowhere be so crowded?”

“Everyone’s traveling because of that stupid census. Why can’t we just send something saying who we are? Why do we have to come all the way to Bethlehem in person to register?”

“I don’t remember. Lemme think. Oh, that’s right. Because Caesar Augustus is a greedy moron.”

Mary rubbed her belly. “Oh, well. Our little guy here will have a thing or two to say about the way things are run.”

“Apparently. You know, I still can’t get over what the angel said to me that night.”

“Tell it to me again! I love that story.”

Joseph sat beside Mary. Taking her hand, he said, “Well, I was sleeping, just like any other night—you remember that night; I stayed up late because I’d eaten that bad chicken.”

“I do remember that. You poor thing.”

“So I finally fell asleep—when all of a sudden I saw a real, actual angel, right there in front of me. At first I thought it had to be the chicken. But then, in a voice that was like all the music in the world played at once, the angel said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife. For what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Mary whispered, “So unbelievable.”

“Which is why, you know, I didn’t exactly share it with the neighborhood.”

“I think that was best.”

“Right? And before that, you had your whole miracle.”

“I know. Talk about divine intervention.”

“And the angel who came to you said what, again? You tell me that part now, okay? I love hearing it.”

“He said that I shouldn’t be afraid, because I had found favor with God.”

“To put it mildly.”

“The angel told me, ‘You will be with child. You’ll give birth to a son. And you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever. His kingdom will never end.”

“That’s just . . . I mean, how do we even . . . Just—wow.”

“I know.”

“Well, at least we don’t have to worry about picking out a name for the boy.”

“Right. Sam is out.”

“As is Junior.”

Mary laughed. “Right.”

“You know, I still wonder what my angel meant by, ‘He will save people from their sins.’ Do you ever wonder about that?”

“All the time.”

“What is that about, you think?”

“I have no idea. I guess . . . that people will stop sinning?”

“That seems so unlikely. Right? Doesn’t that seem impossible?”

“Hey, we can’t start doubting the angels now.”

“Excellent point. But how do you think that whole ‘save people from their sins’ thing is gonna work, exactly?”

“Maybe everyone will just start being . . . really nice all the time?”

“I guess. Or maybe our son will make it so that people don’t want to sin?”

“Or maybe that they can’t?”

“That seems pretty extreme. But maybe. And how’s he gonna affect everybody? That’s a lot of people.”

“Maybe he’s going to travel a lot?”

“Maybe everyone’s not gonna stop sinning. Maybe it’ll be just us. My angel did say he’d save his people from their sins. Who’s more of his people than you and me? Maybe he’s gonna stop us from sinning.”

“That’d be nice.”

“Be a big change for me, anyway. You wouldn’t even notice a difference in me.”

“I’d divorce you. Since a non-sinning you would be a total stranger to me.”

Joseph laughed. “Okay, well, let’s just wait and see, shall we?”

Mary grew thoughtful. “It won’t just be us. The angel said, ‘He’ll reign over the house of Jacob forever.’ That’s a lot more than just us.”

“It’s all so . . . beyond belief.”

“It is. I just don’t know what to expect. Is he going to be born with—I don’t know—wings? Is he going to come out talking? Wearing a crown? What?”

“Well, we know we’ve been told not to worry. So whatever happens, it’ll be okay.

“I know it will. I can feel that it will. It’s going to be amazing.”

“I love you, Mary. So much.”

“I love you too. You’re such a good, good man.”

“Once our baby boy is born, things’ll be different for us. And I don’t just mean because of the radical apparent change in your behavior.”

Mary slapped him playfully. “Will you stop? But yeah, you’re right. Things will change for us.”

“I guess they’ll change for everybody.”

“It seems so.” Mary put her hands on her belly. “I just hope he’s all right.”

“What do you mean?”

“I hope that no one hurts him.”

“What? No. Why would anyone want him?”

“I don’t know. But you know how people are.”

“I know how people usually are. But, unless I’m totally missing the point of this whole thing, this child of ours is going to change all that.”

“I pray that you’re right, Joseph.”

“Of course I’m right. Remember what the angel said? ‘He will be great, and called the Son of the Most High.’ He’s going to save people from their sins. Why would anyone hurt their savior?”

“I have no idea. I just—whoa!”

“What? What is it?”

“It’s begun. The baby’s coming.”

Joseph jumped up. “Okay, okay. Lemme get some of these animals out of here. C’mon, cow, goat. Time’s up. Clear the area.”

“No, no,” said Mary. “Leave them.”

“What? Why?”

Mary smiled beatifically. “I don’t know. I just know it’s the right thing to do.”

“Done,” said Joseph. “Good cow. Good goat.” He returned to Mary’s side. Taking her hand, he said. “We’re gonna get through this. The whole world’s gonna get through this.”

Mary squeezed his hand, tight. “A new life, right?”

“That’s right,” said Joseph. “A whole new ballgame.”

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