Joseph opened his mouth to speak, but what his eyes saw paralyzed his tongue.
It was a thing to see. The late sun was ahead, across the hill behind Jerusalem. The city was a white jewel pronged by the great stone wall around it.
The sun would be gone in ten minutes and there was much to see because he could not stay in Jerusalem. His destination, Bethlehem, was still five miles to the south, but he did not mind the night walk if he could stop a moment and drink in all of this and remember it when he was old.
Softly, haltingly, Joseph found his voice and, as he drank in exquisite and almost fearful beauty, he began to tell the story to his wife. She knew the story as well as he, but listened dutifully, interjecting a word here and there. he reminded her he came of the family of David. [Jim Bishop]
Gray-blue smoke hung still in the sky over the temple. The last sacrifices of the day, the last baby lambs on the altar.
“Darkness is upon us,” said Mary. She had a feeling of foreboding.She wanted to proceed to Bethlehem for no other reason than she was trembling and the baby seemed unusually quiet.
It was soon night and moonless. Joseph trod slowly, stumbling on stones and wondering how much a man he would be if brigands sprang out of the dark. There was little traffic on the road; a few transients who lived near Jerusalem hurried by.
Something happened suddenly to Mary and she knew in a moment that this would be the night of the baby. Joseph was frightened. He knew nothing of these things.
‘I feel no pain, but we must find an inn. The thinking Mary did about the events leading to this night was a kaleidoscope of happy and mysterious and supernatural.
The stretch of road into Bethlehem curved broadly and climbed steadily.To the left the valley was precipitous. Four hundred feet below, the whistle of shepherds could be heard..
To Joseph’s dismay in the city of David multitudes of people were sleeping beside the road. He had not realized there were so many who belonged to the House of David.
The inn was to the left, built on a cliff of rocky soil overlooking the valley. Joseph went inside. The odors of the unwashed, and spiced foods, filled the place. he begged for a small private place for his wife, who was with child. The owner listened and threw up his hands. Where? The owner became irritable. The owner’s wife heard the plea and called her husband to side. [Jim Bishop]
There is a cave below where the animals are kept. You are welcome to it. Joseph inclined his head, ‘I am grateful”. “I thank you’. Outside, Mary seems relieved. “Take me”. “The time grows short’.