Well, it was a difficult time for Mary and I. The Emporer Quirinius had ordered a census to be taken.
To be counted we had to travel to the place of my ancestors. That was Bethlehem--and so away we went. Well, we arrived in Bethlehem alright, and in time for the census--but there were so many people there. The city was dirty and crowded and try as we might, we could not find a place to spend the night.
And so it was that we settled into a cattle stall.
Carol: Once in Royal Davidís City (2 vv.)
Mary was upset, at first. She said the baby would be born very, very soon. She had brought the clothes to wrap the baby in and keep him safe and warm. But it hardly seemed a suitable place for her or for our new child.
I looked around and found a small manger and filled it with fresh clean hay so that it was nice and soft.
It was the least I could do.
I felt so helpless. I wished Maryís Aunt Elizabeth or her mother could have been there to help her. But there was no one . . . only me.
Mary told me that I was doing just fine; that she didnít need anyone or anything else; that it was a lovely bed for our baby. And quite truthfully, it seemed very comfortable, softer than any I have slept on.
And so it was little Jesus, was born there, in that place. And after he was born Mary wrapped him the the special cloths she had brought and laid him in the manager.
Carol: Gentle Mary Laid Her Child (2 verses)
Joseph: Mary was so tired. I found a soft place in the fresh hay and I laid out our blankets. She went to sleep.
I just sat there, beside the manger, gazing in wonder at this tiny, perfect creature. Part of me was thinking that my brothers would be laughing at me and teasing me for being so sentimental-- but most of me didnít care because I was strangely happy . . . Happy that Mary was alright, happy that the baby was healthy. Seeing him, small and perfect and sleeping peacefully made me forget we were in a stable.
. . . That is until I heard the sheep.
At first I heard them from far off and then they got closer and closer. I got up to see what the commotion.
Imagine my surprise when I saw a band of shepherds with their whole flock coming straight towards us. I was a little afraid that they were going to come and tell us we had to leave this stable.
The commotion woke Mary. She went over too the manger and took the wee baby Jesus in her arms.
The shepherds rushed in and began bowing down before us. It was the oddest thing. I canít tell you how weird it felt.
I asked them what they were doing and told them to get up.
In the midst of their OOhing and awing over the baby, they told this amazing story.
Reader: Luke 2:8-20 (At the appropriate point in the scripture, Choire sings the Gloria)
Carol: Good Christian Friends Rejoice (2vv.)
Joseph: It still feels strange to me. Mary told me she often thought about all the strange things that happened.
. . . And then, that was that. The Shepherds went back to their fields. I registered us for the census and we went back home to Nazareth.
We were there for about two years when, one day, Mary is busy doing chores and Iím in the shop and we hear the sound of camels. There arenít that many camels around here--in the market place, yes--but not here where we live.
Mary went outside. She saw them first--a caravan led by three men in the finest clothes we had ever seen. They were getting off their camels. They had a whole train of servants with them. When she realized they were coming to our house, she called me to come out of the shop.
They entered carrying these boxes filled with fine and expensive things--gold, franincense, myrhh. They saw Jesus and went straight to him and bowed down, gave him the gifts and bowed again.
(laughing) Jesus was only two. He reached out and grabbed at their shiny robes. One of them picked Jesus up and he giggled.
I didnít like a stranger holding him, so I took him from the man.
Then the three told us how they had seen this star in the sky--they were magi--from far away--and they studied the sky all the time looking for signs--they were very learned men. Anyway, they saw this large, unusual star and they said it was a sign that a king had been born and they were following it to find this king and it brought them here.
We were speechless. We didnít know what to make of it. I offered them something to eat and drink and Mary prepared it. They took a little of it, then they left almost as quickly as they had come and we never saw them again.
We Three Kings of Orient Are (Trio)
That night I had a dream. In the dream I saw that we were in great danger. I felt the dream was a warning from God--and so I listened to it. The very next day, we packed up and left. We took a few clothes, some food for the journey, and my tools so that I could work wherever we went.
We went to Egypt. It wasnít bad there. There was certainly plenty of work and we did well--but I missed my home.
Carol: Unto Us A Boy Is Born (3 Verses)
As soon as I thought it was safe, we packed up once more and came back here--to Nazaareth. --- And so now here we are, home again. -- And Iíve been thinking about all this. It seems like it must have been a dream. As Jesus got older, I have began to let him spend time in the shop with me. After all he had to begin learning his trade.
And so it is that this wee baby, our little Jesus grew to be healthy and strong and almost too wise for his age. And I watched with pride and amazement as he grew into young man.