One night soon afterwards, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph. “Son of David, do not be afraid to make Mary your wife. She speaks the truth. Her child will save his people from their sins. You should call Him Jesus.”When Joseph woke up, he chose to believe the message.
In the meantime Mary had been praying for Joseph. After Joseph had his dream he came to her. He said everything was all right. Her prayers were answered! A short time later, he and Mary were married.
It was very early in the morning. Joseph had packed the donkey. Mary climbed in between the bundles Joseph had strapped there. Together they set off for Bethlehem in Judea.
The Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus had told everyone to go back to the towns where their families came from. He wanted his soldiers to count the number of people in the tribes of Israel. Joseph’s family came from Bethlehem, so that was where he had to go.
“I wish it were not today,” Joseph said. “The baby is so near to being born.”
Mary nodded. She was trying to stay on the donkey. It was not easy. The baby inside her was so large, she often lost her balance. “This will be along day,” she thought to herself. The hours passed. When the sun rose, it became hot. Mary wanted to fall asleep. She knew she would fall off if she did. She walked for a little while. Soon she became so tired that Joseph put her back on the donkey. Finally they arrived in Bethlehem. The streets were crowded. Children were running everywhere. There was so much noise! Suddenly, Mary felt a tightening in her stomach “Joseph, the baby. I think the baby is coming.”
Joseph turned white. “We have to get you somewhere quiet, out of all these crowds,” he said.
The couple went from house to house. They asked if anyone had a spare room. Nobody said yes.
At one point, Joseph cried, “Isn’t there anywhere we can spend the night?”
“Well,” one innkeeper said. “You could go behind the town. There, near the pastures, is a hillside. I keep my animals inside a deep cave there. Take her to the cave. Lay some fresh hay down. No one will bother you there. At least it’s quiet.”
Joseph shouted his thanks over his shoulder. He ran back to Mary. She leaned on him as the two made their way out of town.
Once Mary was safe in the cave, Joseph relaxed. He had been praying so hard that all would go well. He felt bad that his wife would have her baby in a cave where animals lived. Mary and Joseph had no other choice, though.
When the baby was born, Joseph held the tiny baby boy in his arms. Mary said, “This is Jesus.”