How Mary and Joseph Spent Christmas Eve
© Copyright 2018 by Carol Arvo
Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a far-away land without any snow, Joseph and his wife Mary traveled to the capitol of their country to be counted in the yearly census for their city. It was a long trip. Cars, trains and airplanes weren’t invented yet. Joseph and Mary didn’t have too much money in their budget for the trip, so they couldn’t rent a camel and had to settle for their dependable donkey as transportation.
Mary was pregnant, expecting to have her baby the next day. Mary was tired, hungry, and had a backache from riding on the donkey. When they reached the city of Bethlehem, they saw it was very crowded because of all the other people who also wanted to be counted in the census. They needed to find a room so that Mary could rest. They went to every hotel in the city, but every hotel clerk told them the same thing: “There are no vacant rooms at our inn.”
This just wouldn’t do. Mary was going to have her baby very soon and needed somewhere to lie down and rest. They went back to the first hotel, where Joseph asked to see the manager. The manager confirmed that they had no vacant rooms, but since he had ten children of his own, one look at Mary told him that she had to have somewhere to have her baby.
He took Joseph and Mary to the back of the hotel, to his workshop and barn. He moved his cow out of an end stall, put fresh straw and hay in there and told his wife to bring some blankets and soup for them.
Since this was a land of no snow, the weather that night was pleasant, and the barn was comfortable. Mary and Joseph ate the soup, cuddled together under their blankets, and talked about what they would name their baby. An angel appeared and told them to name the baby Jesus because Jesus means “God is salvation,” and their baby would be saving every person in the world when he grew up, so they decided to go with that.
Mary’s contractions got closer and closer. The manager’s wife came to the barn with some of her girlfriends, and together they prepared to help Mary have her baby. Even then, hot water was a necessity, so they made sure they had lots of it. Joseph kept busy coaching Mary on her breathing.
Mary spent the rest of Christmas Eve in labor, until shortly after midnight when the girlfriends took over, and with their help, Jesus was born on Christmas Day.
And that’s how Mary and Joseph spent their Christmas Eve once upon a time, a long time ago, in a far-away land without any snow.
(Continue to find out how Mary and Joseph spent Christmas Day)
It was a painful birth, but Jesus was born healthy in the very early hours of the first Christmas Day, a long time ago in a far-away land without any snow, and that made Mary and Joseph the happiest parents in the small town of Bethlehem.
As soon as Jesus was born, the innkeeper’s wife and her girlfriends cleaned him up, wrapped him in a blanket from the inn, and took care of him the rest of the night into morning, so Mary and Joseph could get some sleep. They were both exhausted from the trip and the birth. They thanked God for giving them a beautiful, healthy, baby boy. They closed their eyes and enjoyed a peaceful sleep.
Mary and Joseph woke up refreshed after sleeping on the hay in the barn. It was surprisingly comfortable.
The innkeeper’s wife and her girlfriends brought Jesus to Mary so she could feed him. They also brought a breakfast of bread and sweet cooked grain for the new parents.
Shortly after they finished breakfast, they were startled to have three visitors come to the stable door. All three were dressed in fine, beautiful garments that left no doubt that these were men of royalty. Mary and Joseph didn’t know these visitors, but soon discovered that they had come to visit their newborn baby, Jesus.
The three visitors told Mary and Joseph how they had seen a bright star in the eastern sky. They all thought it must be a special sign, and they had a feeling that they should travel toward the star. They followed it and it led them right to the baby, Jesus.
The first man that entered the stable was rather short in stature with a full black beard and light brown skin. He was dressed in a burgundy and gold silk robe with a large garnet ring on his finger and he wore a turban adorned in garnets.
He kept his head down, but his eyes searched for the baby, Jesus. When he saw Jesus in Mary’s arms, he immediately went to him, knelt down, bowed his head, and pulled out a red velvet pouch from his robe pocket. It was filled with gold coins and garnet gems.
Meanwhile, the other two men, also dressed in royal silk garments, knelt behind the first man. One was carrying frankincense and the other was carrying myrrh. These were gifts they had brought with them for the baby King.
It turned out that these men, who were unknown to Mary and Joseph, were three kings from the far Orient who had been traveling over moors and mountains following a wondrous star of night, with royal beauty bright, that led them westward and stopped above the Bethlehem stable where Jesus had just been born. They knew that Jesus was the King that God had promised. They came with their gifts to praise and worship Him.
Mary and Joseph were ecstatic. To think that three kings had come to see their son in a stable, and had even brought wonderful gifts. The kings oohed and aahed over Baby Jesus, and talked to Mary and Joseph for a while.
Mary and Joseph graciously accepted the gifts. (These were the very first Christmas gifts.) Since they were rather poor, these gifts would mean a great deal to them. They shared some of it with all the people around them by asking the innkeeper to prepare lunch and dinner for these visitors and all the other people from around town who had heard about the baby and were coming to see him.
This included a shepherd boy who was minding his own business the night before, grazing his sheep in the field, when an angel appeared to him and told him about the baby Jesus being born in a stable in Bethlehem. Then the sky filled with angels who sang “Glory to God in the Highest.”
The shepherd boy was so excited to hear the news about a baby king being born, and to see the sky lit up with singing angels, that he took his sheep and set out to find the stable in Bethlehem. His timing was perfect, because he arrived at the stable just when the innkeeper’s wife and her girlfriends were setting up a buffet table to serve lunch.
It had been a long, busy morning and everyone was hungry, especially when they smelled the delicious food. The stable took on a party atmosphere. Wine glasses were raised in a toast to the baby king, Jesus. The three kings, the shepherd boy, the innkeeper, his wife, her girlfriends, and the townspeople spent the rest of the day becoming friends, mingling, and telling stories.
Mary was feeling better, but she was still pretty tired and sore from giving birth. They stayed another night in the barn because there still wasn’t any room in any of the inns. The next morning, they checked in at the census department. Then they loaded Mary, the baby Jesus, and the first Christmas gifts onto their dependable donkey and headed for home.And that’s how Mary and Joseph spent their Christmas Day once upon a time, a long time ago, in a far-away land without any snow.
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