Mary stirred. She had slept quite fitfully during the night. She thought of her home, her comfortable bed. The ground hadn’t been very forgiving to her aching body. She just couldn’t get comfortable. Joseph hadn’t slept much either, trying to do what he could to soften the place where she lay. In the middle of the night, during the hours that seemed to last interminably, he had taken his extra tunic and rolled it into a makeshift pillow in order to add extra cushioning to Mary’s resting place. It helped but only enough to enable her to doze.
“I know this isn’t very comfortable,” he whispered in her ear. “I’m sorry.” She nodded, touched by his kindness. He continued. “By tonight, we’ll be in Bethlehem and surely we will be sleeping at an Inn.” With the hope of that in sight, Mary closed her eyes again. Joseph wondered about the day ahead. They still had miles to go and he could tell that the time of the baby’s birth was near. He felt alone and weighed down with the responsibility for their safety. He prayed silently, “Jehovah, God of our fathers, have mercy on us. Bring us safely to this new place. We know no one. I don’t have this all figured out. Mary is trusting me and I’m trusting you! Let your presence move with us over these next hours.” He had a choice. He could rise early in the morning, faith in place, or nurse his fears and worry instead of sleep. He took a deep breath, reviewed the stories of his ancestral fathers, and trusted God.
It might have appeared to Joseph that they were alone. But, God was the Father, just out of sight, ensuring the safe arrival of the Promise. The redemptive plans of God, from before time, were about to break open upon Earth.