We are drawing near to Bethlehem. It’s a long haul but step by step we are getting there. Mary is tired and withdrawn, carrying the child and is so uncomfortable on that old donkey we picked up cheap. I am worried because I forgot to book a room in the rush to set out and Mary will need a bit of comfort if the baby arrives while we are away. There are so many others on the road but none help us or even greet us with a smile. How long now…?
The census – who had that idea and why keep changing the arrangements. It would have been better to have stayed in Nazareth, not to travel. Those politicians never seem to know what they want! So, here we are.
I must admit to being a little afraid; Mary is grumpy and looks miserable. I hope we can make it back to what we know in time. Perhaps we will be forced to bed down for the night in a field somewhere. Not the most comfortable; and she won’t be happy in the open air.
We passed some workers back along the road with a right scrawny flock of sheep; they had their heads down. Everyone was avoiding them; they stank. I hope we don’t see them again. Folk are grumbling so; all around us no one is happy.
As we turn the corner we see Bethlehem in the distance – a small grubby place – I can’t see a decent pub anywhere. Everything is shut up. What a year its been! I can’t imagine anything good coming from it.
We step forward and suddenly we sense something special happening. Is it the baby stirring in the womb. Even though it will be tough bringing up a child in these days, I am sure it will give us joy. Perhaps, even, a hope for the future