Her pains subsided, giving her a moment’s respite. Highly favored among women? In a stinky stable with the animals? Mary’s thoughts tumbled in her tired brain. I am your handmaiden, I told the angel. Oh, what have I gotten myself into? I thought it would be different – not like this. She leaned back on the surrounding hay and sighed. Why here? Why now? She poked at the straw again to smooth out a space to feel comfortable. Another pain wrenched her body; she arched her back to subdue the pain, but it was too great. “OH!” A groan escaped her lips although she tried hard to be brave and strong. Is it really supposed to hurt this way? She bent over with the sharp pain. The contractions were minutes apart. Fear not, the angel said. But Lord – I’m afraid…
“Mary, what can I do to help?” Joseph’s face wrinkled with concern. “More blankets? I’ll see if we have any more.”
A few minutes of relief was granted and Mary gazed after the man to whom she was betrothed, busying himself with unnecessary things like a nervous father-to-be. The man who had first thought of leaving her because of this pregnancy. He hadn’t believed her…until…. But who would have? The child within is from the Holy Spirit? Mary smiled. It does sound unbelievable. How? I only know it’s true. I am a virgin, even though the townsfolk disbelieved me. Kind Joseph. What a wonderful man. The child isn’t even his, but he’s given me everything. He’ll be a good father.
She gazed through the opening of the dark little stable where they had found refuge. What a bright star tonight. We may need the extra light so Joseph can deliver this baby. Mary marveled at God’s handiwork in the skies. Even Heaven knows Someone special will be coming into the world tonight. Wish my mother could have helped with the birth. She wanted so badly to see her grandchild born. And dear Aunt Elizabeth – she would be happy for me too. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest. The Lord God shall give him the throne of his father David and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever. Of his kingdom there shall be no end. What does it all mean?
Her ponderings were interrupted as she was taken by another sharp contraction; her breath came in quick pants.
“Joseph…” she whispered through her agony. “It’s time…I need your help….”
…to be continued.