Pregnant and on a Donkey’s Back

illustration of Mary and Joseph traveling with a donkey on their way to Bethlehem.
illustration of Mary and Joseph traveling with a donkey on their way to Bethlehem.

Mary knelt by the hot oven. Her large belly and aching back made cooking difficult. Every day she thanked God he had spoken to Joseph assuring him she had not been with another man. What if Joseph hadn’t believed God and taken her as his wife?

She and Joseph often talked about what God meant when he told Joseph “what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:20 (NIV) Joseph would look at her with incredible kindness and say, “Mary, we don’t have to understand all God does. We only need to trust him.”

He’d be home from the shop in a few minutes. She would get to sit down while they ate lunch. Oh, how her back hurt. She moved the pan away from the heat as the door opened.

The Census

“Mary, I have news.” Joseph put his arms around her. “I’m not sure how we’ll do this, but Caesar has issued a decree that we must all go to our own town to register for the census. That means we must travel to Bethlehem. I’m not sure you can make the trip.”
Mary stepped back and looked up at Joseph. “I feel like the baby will come any day now.”
“I know. Do you want to stay with your mother while I go?”
Tears filled Mary’s eyes. “Joseph, I feel safe with you. I can’t imagine being without you when the baby comes. I’ll go.”

A Borrowed Donkey

“Okay. We’ll go together and pray God’s protection. Eleazar said we could borrow his donkey. Can you be ready to leave in the morning?”
“Yes. I’ll be ready.” Mary turned away. A donkey? She’d need God’s grace sitting on a donkey for eighty miles.

How Do We Teach Trust?

How often we worry, plan, and strategize over our lives, all the while saying we’re in God’s will. Are we really? Aren’t we more in his will when we live our lives one moment at a time? The story above is fiction based on fact, but I believe Mary and Joseph faced a trip to Bethlehem with faith. How else could they handle such a disruption with Jesus’ birth pending?
Can we teach our children to trust God for the circumstances they will face? The best—and perhaps only—way to teach that kind of trust is by living it in front of them.

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