God Doesn't Make Mistakes.

God Doesn’t Make Mistakes.
by Angharad

Copyright© 2015 Angharad

  
nativity.jpg

God doesn’t make mistakes?
By
Angharad.

In the twenty seventh year of the reign of Caesar Augustus it was decreed that a census be carried out across the empire, including the province of Judea. It was decreed that every man should return to his birthplace and be registered. Yossef and his wife, Miriam reluctantly accepted they’d have to travel from their home to Bethlehem.

They’d been married about a year, Yossef being nearly forty was significantly older than his twelve year old wife, who was now in an advanced state of pregnancy. He’d married her after he had a dream in which he was told by an angel to do so. Being superstitious he thought he’d better. Miriam had also had a dream in which the archangel Gabriel told her that it was her destiny to be the mother of the messiah. Coming from a religious family, she wasn’t at all sure how she felt about the dream and kept it to herself in case it caused her to fall foul of her family or the religious authorities, not to mention the federal authorities under the rule of King Herod, a puppet monarch who was kept in power by the authority of the Roman Empire.

Miriam and Yossef lived in Nazareth, a small town of mainly mud brick houses in Galilee where Yossef was a tradesman carpenter. He was successful enough for them to have their own house above his workshop and he was less than pleased to be told of the decree of the Roman emperor, but you didn’t offend the Romans and have much of a life expectancy. It was part of his busy time too, when repairing doors and shutters to keep out the worst of the winter weather was in high demand, and easier work than repairing or building carts, which was his mainstay in the spring and summer.

He expected to go alone but Miriam implored her to take her with him to Bethlehem, as her dream had told her that was where her son would be born. He tried to talk her out of it, suggesting that the fifty or so miles would be difficult for her but she insisted that she should be with her husband.

“But we have to travel through Samaria and you know what they say about them?”

“Don’t the Judeans say that about Galileans as well, dear husband,” she said embarrassing him because he’d originally come from Judea to Galilee where he’d set up his workshop.

He blushed and shook his head. “My beautiful, Miriam, I can refuse you nothing. If you insist I shall take you with me, I’ll borrow Yacob’s ass and you can ride part of the way if need be.”

They hugged and kissed and he felt the baby moving inside her. He couldn’t believe at his age he was finally going to become a father and he just hoped she wouldn’t deliver it while they were on the road. He’d helped his brother mid-wife sheep and goats, so he had some idea of what was involved though he knew human babies were even more defenceless than lambs and kids.

He roughly knew the route he had to take and thought it would be easier to travel at night rather than in the day time, he reckoned they could do the journey in two nights if they really put their minds to it. They could break their journey in Shechem and Miriam could rest there during the day. While Yossef borrowed the donkey, Miriam collected together bread and wine together with some cheese, oil and some oranges. She knew her husband would be hungry walking all that way, though she herself hadn’t felt so for a few days as she knew her baby would like arrive just after they got back from their trip.

Hanukkah had finished and the solstice just past when they set off on their adventure, leaving their house which their respective families agreed to watch over in their absence. Their plan to take six days, two to travel there, two to rest up and two more to walk home again—it was a tight schedule due mainly to Yossef having to postpone work because of their trek, where both he and his customers looked around before cursing the Romans and their ugly emperor for causing the delay.

The journey was tedious and Miriam alternately walked a few miles and sat on the ass when her back ached too much to continue. Yossef was kind to her and they stopped far more frequently than he would have done on his own. The full moon and the conjuction of Jupiter and Venus lit the sky and afforded them some help in finding their way.

They stopped in Shechem after the first night’s walking and Miriam slept all day with exhaustion. Yossef once again asked her to stay behind and he’d hurry back to her but she said that an angel had told her she had to accompany him. That meant he wouldn’t mention it again, in case he offended his god or his angels—he heard some fearsome tales about what they could do to humans who upset them, plus Shechem was in Samaria, and they were all ne’er-do-wells, it was accepted fact to all other Jews, including Galileans. Having said that the inn, in which they’d rested and eaten seemed okay and they’d arranged to stop there on the way back.

As Yossef got the donkey from the stable the innkeeper said quietly to him, “According to my wife, she thinks your baby isn’t far away.”

“It’s not due for three or four days yet, and it’s her first one, so my aunt thought she might be later.”

“Well all I’m saying is watch her, the baby is sitting low which means it’s not going to be very long.”

Yossef thanked him and he and Miriam set off in the early evening. He made her ride and drove the poor ass at a faster rate than the day before, arriving at Jerusalem, where they managed to find a place to rest for a couple of hours and something to eat before entering Bethlehem in the mid morning.

The first priority was somewhere for Miriam to rest and the town seemed more busy than ever. Yossef approached the innkeeper and offered to pay over the odds for somewhere for his wife to rest. The innkeeper shrugged, “I’m absolutely full to the roof and even that has people sleeping on it. Sorry, mate, but the place is heaving.”

As Yossef was about to turn away his wife looking exhausted on her lowly mount, the innkeeper’s wife ran out. “Look, I’ve persuaded my husband to let you rest in the stable. It isn’t much but it’s out of the glare of the sun and your wife can rest on some bales of straw.”

Yossef thanked his hostess and led the tired donkey and its precious burden round to rear of the yard and into the stable. Miriam’s waters broke as she dismounted and the first of many contractions happened. Yossef was in uncharted waters and fled to bring the innkeeper’s wife back with him. She made arrangements for a local wise woman who acted as midwife to come and help the struggling Miriam.

The labour went on for hours and Yossef watched helplessly as his young wife alternately groaned and yelled, sweating with the effort while he paced up and down. At one point she called him, “Yossef, my husband, you must take care of this child,” she indicated her baby by rubbing her distended belly. “He must be called Yeshu and he will be a great man, for God himself has told me. Promise me this, my husband.”

“Of course, Miriam my wife, he will be a great man and we will obey the will of God.”

She thanked him groaned again before almost passing out with the labour pains. Some two hours later, as Yossef paced up and down he heard Miriam scream loudly followed by a groan, then the cry of a baby. His heart raced with excitement, he was going to be a father—he was a father—and God had said their son would be a great man. He couldn’t wait to hold him in his arms—his first child—his son. His head was swimming with emotion and he felt himself sniffing back the odd tear—he mustn’t let his wife or more importantly his son see him showing any weakness.

“Your wife is sleeping, she’s very young isn’t she” said the older lady almost in an accusatorial tone.

“How is she?”

“Exhausted for now, but she’s young and strong, she’ll be well in a couple of days.”

“And my son, Yeshu?”

“Son? Are you mad, you have a lovely daughter—take good care of her.”



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This story is 1526 words long.