TODAY, THE MESSIAH IS BORN.
© 2017 by Alabede Jude Oluwabamise (Prince Jude) | All rights reserved.
It was a chilly and foggy night. The air was frozen lace on Mary’s skin, delicate and cold, like winter waves on shallow sand. The sky was washed with grey, watery light illuminating thin patches to brilliance.
It was uncalled for the Romans to issue sudden decrees and at the time they did, Mary was pregnant. Heavily pregnant for Pete’s sake!
Caesar Augustus had just issued a decree that all the world should be taxed. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because he was of the house and lineage of David. To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife.
Mary was seated on a donkey with Joseph trudging beside. A smile wafted across her face. She was going to have a baby! Not just any baby but a special one. She could vividly remember the Angel who came to visit her before she became pregnant. He had said she was going to give birth to the Messiah who would save the world. It was such a rare opportunity having the savior inside of her. A mere mortal woman like her?
She looked down at her protruding stomach and heaved a sigh of frustration. Bethlehem was very far from home but they were edging closer to the big city. They had set off on the journey early in the morning and now it was night yet, they haven’t gotten to the city but they knew they were close.
“Is the city still far from here?”, Mary asked, looking at Joseph who was trudging beside the donkey tiredly.
“No, not at all”, Joseph replied. “We are very close now”.
“I just want us to get there fast and book an hotel. Who knows if the baby would come soon.”
“I can’t guarantee if there would be available hotels to book because the city would have been full by the time we get there”, Joseph said.
“At least, there should be available inns, right?”
“Hopefully”, Joseph simply replied.
Mary shrugged and continued with her thoughts. It felt like a mild game only that there was no player. She had envisaged having a special birth of the baby. It was the Messiah we’re talking about here so, the birth must surely be special and peculiar in every way. She would find the best midwives should the baby come in the city even though, she had visualized having the baby in the comfort of her home where she would be surrounded with the best midwives found in Nazareth. And the baby treated like a king but she was far from home, far from the comfort zone.
She subconsciously looked up and smiled. Bethlehem was close and pretty soon, the long journey which seemed endless would be over and when the census is over, she would head back home and have her baby peacefully there.
“Argh!”, she let out a groan as a sudden pain shot through her.
“Are you okay?”, Joseph asked.
“Yes, I’m fine. I’m just tired”.
“Don’t worry, we’re there already. Its just few meters away”. Joseph said with a reassured smile.
Mary felt relieved as she felt the pain no more, it was gone. At least, for that moment. She looked on as they approached the gigantic gate of Bethlehem and a smile emitted from her face.
Bethlehem, here I come. They entered the gate and the city was filled to the brim. All she needed was to get a bed, she really needed to rest after a long and tedious journey, its really worth it.
“Argh!”, she let out another groan.
“Mary, are you okay?”, Joseph asked again, running to her side.
“I’m fine, I just argh!”, she contorted her face in pains, trying to keep the pain in.
“What’s wrong, Mary?”, Joseph asked. He was panicked now.
No! Mary winced. The baby shouldn’t come. Not now, certainly not here. She hasn’t even gotten to a suitable inn talk much of preparing for the arrival of the baby.
“I think the baby is coming”, Mary blurted out and then, muffled her breaths.
“Oh my God!”, Joseph exclaimed. He was running back and forth like a helpless chicken not knowing what to do.
“Argggh!”, she couldn’t control the pain anymore.
“Okay, okay. Just hang on, I will go look for a suitable inn somewhere there”, Joseph said, running away.
“No, no. Don’t leave me all alone on the road”, she pleaded.
Joseph ran back to her, fear was visible in his eyes and he was unsure of what to do. He held her hands and looked into her eyes.
“Mary, my beloved. Please, hang on for some more minutes I will go book a room in an inn over there”, he said, trying to force out a smile even, the smile was wry.
Mary nodded and Joseph took off with a speed he never knew he had. He ran as fast as his legs could carry him and soon, he was out of sight.
Mary groaned again as the pain seeped through her body. She gritted her teeth as the pain hit her harder and harder, hands clenching and unclenching in a bid to keep the pain in, but the pain was somewhat too excruciating to keep in so, she let out a loud groan as her eyes darted around looking for Joseph.
Soon, Joseph came back. He was panting and drooling on to catch his breath.
“We have to move to another inn, this one is already full”, he said breathlessly.
“Let’s go”, she managed to say through gritted teeth.
Joseph hit the donkey and it began moving slowly. It seemed as though the donkey was also tired as it moved rather too slow unlike when they first set off for the journey.
“I need to go check out some other inns”, Joseph spoke after a minute of silence. He looked up at her and the look on her face wasn’t good. She was in extreme pain and was barely hanging on. He was scared for the very first time of his life, seeing Mary in so much pain and worst of all, he hasn’t gotten a suitable room for her.
“Please, try to hang on. I’ll be back in a minute”, Joseph said, clutching her hand in his as he watched her groaning. The look on her face wasn’t encouraging as she doesn’t want him out of her sight and Joseph knew of this but he had no choice.
“I promise, I’ll get us a room”, he said and faked a smile but beneath the smile, was fear.
“Just go”, Mary said amidst gritted teeth.
Joseph immediately ran off again, leaving Mary with the tired donkey. The donkey began moving on its own accord without being poked.
Mary was wheezing hard like an old machine spewing smoke. Pains shot through her with every breath she took, trying as much as possible not to make the slightest sound. Thus, the heavy breaths.
Joseph came back with a dejected look on his face.
“Mary”, he called.
Mary looked at him with a glint of hope in her eyes.
“Have you gotten a room”, she managed to ask.
“No, all inns and hotels have been booked all over the city”.
Mary gasped. No! This is not happening. No hotels to lodge? No inns to book? No rooms to squat? Where the hell would she deliver the baby? Certainly not on the roadside!
“What do we do now?”, she heard Joseph ask and she looked up at him. She didn’t realize a tear had slid down her face not until Joseph saw it.
“Oh my God! Mary, you’re crying”, Joseph said and ran over to her side.
“Am I?”, she found herself asking and more tears trickled down her face. She cleaned the tears with the back of her hand and forcefully cleared her obscured vision.
She looked up. There was a stable up in a distance away and she found herself wishing she could at least deliver the baby there.
“Let’s go over there”, she pointed out.
“What?”, Joseph gasped in disbelief. “A stable?”
“But, the stable is for animals”
“I know but we have no choice, not now. The baby could come anytime soon”
Joseph shrugged and began walking towards the stable with Mary on the donkey trudging along. He stopped midway and looked at Mary. She had a squeezed face with heavy sounds of muffled breaths.
“There’s no way am letting you go in there”, he said.
“Please, we don’t have the luxury of time”, Mary begged.
He shook his head and shrugged again.
Soon, they entered the stable and a sudden, fierce pain shot through her again but this time, it was unbearable as she let out a loud groan. The time has come and her water had broken.
Joseph immediately bolted out of the door to go seek for assistance. Fortunately, he met a woman on the way who was also from Nazareth and she helped out.
Soon, Mary bore the savior who had come in form of a baby on a manger and they wrapped him up with sleek pieces of clothes. Mary held the baby, the savior in her hands and a flourishing smile emitted from her face. She couldn’t believe she had the Messiah born on a manger and in a stable. The savior had humbled himself by coming in the worst part of places.
The Messiah is the priceless and greatest gift she ever received. The question now is; ‘Are you ready to receive him?’
Let the killing of chickens begin.