Mary and Joseph ~ Christmas Eve
Joseph: What a night! I never thought our baby's birth would be like this.
Mary: Tell me about it! No family, no mid-wife, not even an inn or a bed. I can't believe we did it, that he's here and he's safe and sound and healthy. Look at him, isn't he beautiful?
Joseph: I think he has my nose.
Mary: God forbid. I mean, I'm not quite sure about that.
Joseph: I still can't get over those shepherds coming to visit us. That was just so odd.
Mary: I thought they were sweet, they were so excited to see us and tell us about the angels who came to them.
Joseph: Do you believe them? I mean, they seemed sincere, but it doesn't really make sense, does it? An angel appearing to shepherds and telling them about our baby?
Mary: Well, an angel appeared to you to tell you about our baby. How different is this?
Joseph: I'm the baby's father, or at least his step father, I still haven't figured that one out. But shepherds? I don't get it. Why would they hear about Jesus first? If Jesus really matters, wouldn't God send angels to tell someone more important first?
Mary: Like who? The priests? Do you honestly think they would believe you and I were chosen to be parents to the son of God?
Joseph: No, they sure wouldn't believe it. It's not like we're very important either.
Mary: So maybe that's the whole point, that God wants to come to the people who aren't important, the people who really need a saviour and will appreciate and welcome the Messiah.
Joseph: I suppose you're right. No priest would ever be as excited and happy as those shepherds.
Mary: When they saw Jesus, it was like they were in the presence of God. You could see the joy and awe in their faces. I felt it too. Didn't you?
Joseph: Yes, I did. It makes me think about what the angel in my dream told me. That our son would be known as Emmanuel, God with us. I didn't understand what that meant before, but after talking to those shepherds, I think I know. It's like God is coming to live with us, with all humanity, through our baby.
Mary: Oh my, that makes it even scarier. How do you raise God? What happens if he does something wrong and I have to spank him? Of course, he'll probably be perfect. But I won't be, I'll probably still lose patience and spank him!
Joseph: Well, maybe he won't be perfect.
Mary: What do you mean? If he's God among us, how can he not be perfect?
Joseph: Well, if the whole point is for God to live among us and truly be with us, then maybe that means our son will have to live the full human experience. He'll have to make mistakes and get angry and confused and despairing and all those other things we go through.
Mary: And vulnerable, don't forget vulnerable. There's nothing more fragile and helpless than a baby.
Joseph: You're right. Wow, what does it mean that God is coming to us as a baby? That's not what I expected when this all began.
Mary: Like we keep saying, this whole trip has been about the unexpected. I love the idea of God coming to us as a baby, of God understanding what it is to feel vulnerable and helpless. I don't know about you, but I felt that way more than a few times over the past four weeks. I don't think we could have done this journey without that sense of God being with us.
Joseph: You're right, Mary. If our son can help others to feel closer to God the way we have, then everything we went through on our journey was worth it.
Mary: I guess we won't ever forget Jesus' birthday, will we?
Joseph: Amen to that!
Mary and Joseph - Week Four
The Journey to Bethlehem Continues
Mary: Now I know how our ancestors felt when they wandered in the wilderness for forty years. How can a journey that was supposed to be so simple take so long?
Joseph: Nothing has gone as planned, that’s for sure. But you know, one thing I've learned on this trip is that what matters is that God is with us and we’re working together and supporting each other.
Mary: In my head I know you're right, but then my fears take over. It's great that God is with us, but what does God know about giving birth?
Joseph: Um, didn’t God create the whole world? Isn’t that like giving birth? And isn’t God described in the Bible as being like a pregnant woman and a nursing mother? It’s in Isaiah, isn’t it?
Mary: I forgot about that. Maybe God does understand more than I thought. This whole trip has been about expectations being turned upside down and about understanding God in new ways, hasn't it?
Joseph: And about seeing God in unexpected people and places.
Mary: You know, I'm actually feeling better about this whole situation the closer we get to Bethlehem.
Joseph: You could have fooled me a few minutes ago.
Mary: Hey, I'm nine months pregnant, I'm allowed to have a few irrational moments. But seriously, when we started I was nervous and scared about having a baby and about what God wanted from me. And then nothing was going right and I wondered if God had made a mistake with the whole thing.
Joseph: I know what you mean. We couldn't help but wonder if all those things going wrong meant that God was no longer with us, that God had changed his mind and given up on us.
Mary: Exactly, but somewhere along the way things started to change. Talking to you, and us being able to share our hopes and fears with each other has really helped. It's like we experience God's love and guidance in each other.
Now, the closer we get to Bethlehem, the more I understand that sometimes God is more present in the unexpected things and in the mistakes than in the moments when everything seems perfect.
Joseph: I just had a great idea! We should do this exact same journey every year so we never forget all the things we've learned!
Mary: Maybe we can find a way to do it symbolically, that would be a lot easier on my feet.
Joseph: Only three more days to go at most! Just think, when we get to Bethlehem we'll find a nice, warm inn. I'm sure the innkeeper's wife will be experienced at delivering babies and we'll all be able to relax and be safe and warm for the baby's birth.
Mary: I don't know about the relaxed part, Joseph. Don't get your hopes up. But safe and warm sounds good to me, and especially the part about the mid-wife. Once we get to Bethlehem there won't be any more surprises.
Mary and Joseph Week Three
Mary: (screaming) Aghhh!!
Joseph: What's wrong? Is the baby coming?
Mary: No! That's all we need, hasn't everything else gone wrong? I just can't take any more. The donkey is lame, the road is washed out, we're doing a thirty mile detour through the middle of nowhere, my back is killing me and there's no way we'll get back home before the baby is born. I just want to sit down in the middle of the road and cry, but if I do that the Roman soldiers might arrest us for loitering.
Joseph: Aw Mary, cheer up, things could be worse.
Mary: Really Joseph? How could they possibly be worse?
Joseph: Well, we're still together, that's a good thing. Sometimes the Romans decide they need some extra bodies to do roadwork, but they left me alone when we got to the road block. And even when you get cranky, I think you still like having me around.
Mary: I don't get cranky! Okay, maybe a little. You're right, it would be so much worse if we weren't together. I can't imagine doing this journey alone.
Joseph: See! So there's one good thing. Neither of us is sick, that's another good thing. Remember those people with the horrible fever who we saw in the last village?
Mary: That was pretty bad. You're right, we are in good health, even if we're sore and tired.
Joseph: And we have enough money to buy food and to get a bed at night, that's something. Imagine if we had to sleep in a field or a barn?
Mary: Eww, that would be awful, I do not like animals, except our sweet donkey that is. I wouldn't want to sleep next to a cow or a sheep. And the smell! I couldn't do it, forget it. So yes, I'm glad we can get a bed at night, even if it's rough.
Joseph: There you are, lots of reasons to rejoice about this trip.
Mary: Rejoice? That's pushing it. I'm not feeling remotely joyful right now.
Joseph: Well, I think sometimes you have to push yourself to find reasons to rejoice. And maybe you have to try and help other people find reasons to rejoice. That always makes me feel happier.
Mary: Is that why you're always helping people? Because it makes you happy too?
Joseph: Of course! Didn't you see that man's face when I fixed his wagon this morning? It made my day.
Mary: All I could think about was how long it took. I didn't pay any attention to his face. No wonder I'm feeling cranky and you're joyful. Okay, you've convinced me. I'm going to try and be more joyful, no matter how hard the trip is. After all, we're together and God is with us, no matter how bad the road gets.
Mary and Joseph Week Two
Joseph: I can't believe it's taking us so long to get to Bethlehem!
Mary: Well, we'd be further along if you hadn't insisted on that detour into Jericho. We spent four days there.
Joseph: But they had such a great deal on donkeys! We couldn't pass that up. Admit it, aren't you more comfortable on a donkey than having to walk to whole way?
Mary: I was fine walking! And I don't think he goes any faster than I did.
Joseph: Yeah, I figured with him we could make up our time once we got back on the road, but that's not going to happen.
Mary: Why can't you just stick to the plan? Why do you always have to try something new?
Joseph: You're telling me I should stick to the plan? You're the one who's having a baby and we're not even married yet.
Mary: Are you having second thoughts? You don't have to do this, you know. The baby and I will be just fine on our own.
Joseph: No, no! That's not what I meant. Why do you always take things the wrong way?
Mary: Take things the wrong way? How else am I supposed to take it? Second thoughts means you're wishing you weren't here, seems clear enough to me.
Joseph: Let's try this again. I love you Mary, and I want to support you, but this whole situation is hard on both of us. When I feel nervous about becoming a father, I can't talk to my father about it because he's already judging us. Same with you and your mother. Becoming parents is always exciting and challenging, but we've got some extra challenges and sometimes I just feel overwhelmed.
Mary: Me too. And being on this trip doesn't help either. At first it was exciting, but now everything hurts and I'm so tired. I wish I had a comfortable bed to sleep on and that my mother was here to make me tea and rub my feet.
Joseph: I wish your father was here, he's so wise and compassionate. When he puts his hands on your shoulders and says he believes in you, somehow you feel calmer and ready to face anything.
Mary: Listen to us, we're about to become parents and all we can talk about is how we wish our parents were here to look after us.
Joseph: I guess we have to look after each other, don't we. I'm not very good at making tea, but I can give you a foot rub.
Mary: You're the one who's going to have sore feet at the end of the day, you're doing all the walking! Maybe we both need to look for new ways of finding comfort and peace in an unfamiliar situation.
Joseph: I'll take the offer of a foot rub! And would you sing to me before we go to sleep tonight? Listening to you sing makes me feel all peaceful inside.
Mary: I would love to sing to you, Joseph. And tonight I'll try making tea for both us the way my mother makes us it.
Joseph: See, we can look after each other! Maybe God is using this trip to teach us what we need to know in order to be good parents.
Mary: It's a good reminder that God is always with us, even when the road gets rough.
Advent One 2020 ~ Mary and Joseph's Journey
Mary: Are you sure we have everything we need for the journey?
Joseph: Of course I'm sure! How many times have we been over your list? Or should I say, your mother's list.
Mary: She's just being a good mother, like I hope I'll be one day.
Joseph: I'm surprised she let you leave, she sure wasn't keen about you coming with me.
Mary: Well, most women don't travel with their husbands, but I don't see why I should stay home. I'd rather be with you. And I may never have another chance to see so much of Israel.
Joseph: It's a long trip, 90 miles from Nazareth in the north to Bethlehem. I don't really understand why we have to go register in the home city of our ancestors. But who am I to question Caesar? I'm more worried about offending your mother!
Mary: Honestly, that's part of why I wanted to go with you. I'm so tired of hearing her say, “I wish you had done things in the right order. You should have gotten married first. We should be getting ready for a wedding, not a baby.” I don't think she believes me that God planned this baby, not us.
Joseph: I had trouble believing it at first. I'm still ashamed of that. That's why I wish I didn't have to travel all the way to Bethlehem right now. I wish we could stay home and I could show you and God and your mother what a great husband and father I'll be.
Mary: I'm sure you'll have lots of chances to show me what a great husband you'll be during our trip.
Joseph: I'll do my best, Mary. I've already calculated how many miles we need to walk each day. If we do 12 or 13 miles every day, we'll get there and back in two weeks. Personally I think we should buy a donkey because that's an awful lot for you to walk right now.
Mary: I'll be fine! We should save that money for the baby. I'm sure we'll be there and back in less than two weeks. Whenever I get worried, I remind myself that everything is in God’s hands.
Joseph: I suppose you're right. We shouldn't have any trouble getting to Bethlehem and back long before the baby arrives.
Mary: We're both young and strong, what could possibly go wrong?