Through the eyes of a father
part 4 of 6
The next few months flew by quickly. Mary went to spend time with her aunt Elizabeth. When she came back she was showing and there was no little commotion about her. I could feel the stares. I knew she felt the sting of the village gossip; it seemed no one except her family would even speak to her. But, we were married as planned.
It wasn’t too long afterward that we got the news of the census. We needed to go to Bethlehem with the rest of my family and register. It would do us good to get out of here, away from the wagging tongues.
My brother and his family traveled with us. It was then that I told him everything. I couldn’t keep it inside anymore. I don’t think he believed me at first, could I blame him? But he did know Mary and her family; and he knew me. He seemed reluctant, but stood by me as a brother should. I think it hurt him some, hearing the gossip. His wife, Salome, was magnificent. She cared for Mary as if she were her sister. I was grateful to have her with us on the journey. For Mary’s sake.
By the time we had arrived in Bethlehem the village was bustling. My people had rented rooms there, but they were all too crowded for all of us to squeeze in with them. We were searching quite a while before a kind innkeeper and his wife took pity on us.
With all the rooms already overcrowded, he would make the stable available to us. We were grateful. It was warm there and I didn’t mind the smell too much. At least we were warm. And by now, Mary was ready.
When the water came I went and called the old midwife. He was born early in the day, just after sundown. I was standing outside with Simon when I heard him cry. Jesus!
When I came in to them, she was already feeding him. She seemed so pretty there, and her eyes, they were dancing with joy. “Look”, she said, “a son!”
It took a while to clean them up and when they were finished, Mary seemed so tired. We wrapped the boy and he slept in the feeding trough which we moved next to where we slept. She was nodding off and I just lay there staring. What child was this? Jesus – to save us from our sins. It seemed like hours I lay there thinking, oblivious to what was going on around me.
The noise finally interrupted my thoughts. Such a commotion! At first I thought some travelers had enjoyed a bit too much wine, as always happens when there are too many people packed in tight quarters. What was going on?
To be continued…