Mary’s Big News – Chapter 6


Bethlehem was over crowded! Mary held tight to the donkey with one hand and held her stomach protectively with the other –she was in a lot of pain.

People shouted and crammed around each other – everyone seemed to be crashing into one another. They seemed to be in a frenzy – rushing everywhere.

Animals,people, children and vendors enclosed Mary – all sort of smells mingled in the thick congested air. Mary wriggled her nose and tried to block out the unpleasant smells. She couldn’t smell the lamb stew she had been craving.

“Mary, how are you holding up?” Joseph shouted above the noisy crowd.

Mary extended her hand and motioned that she was ok – not feeling great.

Joseph nodded and hurried the best he could.

Mary looked around for her friend Imma but they were no longer in sight. At the city gates they had said farewell. Imma wanted to stay with Mary in case the baby came but Joseph and Mary insisted they settle in and feed the twins. The twins were extremely exhausted and very hungry – they were constantly crying.

Reluctantly Imma and Yakov headed their own way – Mary silently wished she had her close by.

She was a little afraid to have a baby on her own, especially with no family around, but she knew Joseph would take great care of her.

Joseph maneuvered their little donkey down the bumpy uneven and narrow alley ways of Bethlehem – the walls seemed to swallow them. Mary closed her eyes and tried to think of other things.

Finally in the distance, they saw a big house lit up with oil lamps. Their small flames flickered with the soft breeze blowing through the house.

Mary sighed in relief, yes, finally, Joseph’s family home – warmth. Joseph stopped in front of the door and motioned for Mary to stay on the donkey.

Mary nodded and rubbed her stomach – they pain was getting stronger and more frequent. She closed her eyes and waited for it to pass.

The door swung opened and a burly man with long bushy beard stuck out his head,“Yes?”

Before Joseph opened his mouth the man’s eyes opened in surprise, “Joseph my son!” He threw his heavy body onto Joseph and gave him a huge bear hug.

“Uncle Ephraim!” Joseph laughed with relief and hugged his uncle back.

Mary wished they could hurry and get her inside the house.

Joseph continued talking, “We are here for the census, my wife Mary and I are wondering if we can stay with you?”

Uncle Ephraim’s face changed, “Oh, my boy I have no room. Not even the roof top is free. Friends from everywhere have come and every room in the house is filled.”

Mary noticed Joseph face panic, “But uncle, my wife Mary is about to have a baby. We need a place to stay.” Joseph craned his neck and peeked through the small window trying to see if his uncle was saying the truth.

Uncle Ephraim grabbed Joseph’s shoulder and shook him slightly, “I’m sorry. There is nothing I can do.” He looked at Mary and shrugged, “Nothing.”

All of a sudden his uncle clicked his fingers, “Try Matthias Inn – he has a huge place and there is always plenty of room there. Tell him I sent you and that you’re family. He will give you a place to stay.”

Mary tuned out, as he gave Joseph directions – back down the narrow noisy and smelly alley way of Bethlehem they wobbled.

As they rounded the corner of the alleyway into a bigger area, Mary heard shouting and screaming. Then she saw them, two men fighting with the inn keeper and demanding a room. The man kept shouting that they were full and had nothing left, but, these two men shouted back saying that he was lying. Finally the man reluctantly opened the door wider and told them that they could sleep on the rooftop. Mumbling and cursing under their breath, the angry men made their way through the door. They weren’t happy but they obviously needed a place to spend the night.

Joseph looked at Mary timidly as if saying, “Do I need to ask?”

Mary shrugged, “Just try and see.” She was so hopeful.

Joseph knocked on Matthias door and the same man with bold head and bushy beard flung the door open.

“There’s no room so don’t even ask!” He shouted.

Joseph drew back in surprised and the man slammed the door shut.


Joseph grabbed the reigns of the donkey and pulled Mary along. In the faint oill antern lights outside, Mary could see big drops of sweat dripping down his face and neck. He was stressed, worried, frustrated, and maybe even angry?

“Joseph, let’s see if we can find another place.”

Joseph grunted and continued pulling – his head down and muscular arms tense.

Mary wished she was able to help him but she was in so much pain that tears were silently wetting her face. She didn’t want him to know how much she hurt, so she breathed in softly and drowned her pain with the shouts of the crowd.

After what seemed to be the fiftieth doors they had knocked on, a woman opened the door.

Mary’s slumped body straightened and she felt suddenly revived, a woman would understand her condition for sure. Maybe there was hope.

“We’re looking for a room,” Joseph started to say.”

“I’m sorry, we have no room left. Nothing at all. Bethlehem is completely full tonight.”

“But my wife is about to have a baby!” Joseph almost shouted.

The woman turned around and went inside the house; Joseph slammed his staff hard on the uneven ground.


Just as they were going to go off again, the woman came back out with a large oil lamp. She lifted the light and shone in on Mary. Her dark eyes inspecting her stomach.

The woman’s small round face soften and her mouth formed a little o, “Oh darling girl, you are in labour! You poor dear.”

Mary moaned, “Please help us.”

The woman moved her round body swiftly and stuck her head back in the house. There was a lot of noise coming from inside – music, laughter mingled together with the sound of pottery clanking.

The old lady bellowed above the noise, “Hannah! Come girl, take water to the stable. Hurry!”

The woman came back outside and talked quickly to Joseph, “You can stay in the stable. It’s clean and your wife will rest comfortable on the hay.”

Joseph signed with relief, his hunched shoulders, lifting up, “Yes, yes please. Thank you!!”

“My name is Mara, this is my inn and my husbands. My servant girl Hannah will help me deliver your baby.” She looked at Mary and smiled, “all will be well dear.”

She lifted her oil lamp and lit the way, “Come, follow me.”

Mary started to sob, pain and relief mixed all together. Her heart had felt twisted like a rope but with the news of having a place to rest, it made her feel like the tight rope was being released.

Mara guided them down a small, bumpy, crooked alleyway –

“This is all part of the house you know, we have a big inn. The stable is part of my house but it’s at the back away from paying guests. I don’t want noisy and stinking animals shooing my guest away.” Mara laughed and continue hobbling on the uneven earth. Behind them Mary heard running footsteps.

A young girl staggered under the water pitcher weight –

“I’m here Mara.” She puffed following close behind – in one arm she carried the water pitcher and in the other an oil lamp.

“Good.Don’t spill the water girl, we need it, this young woman is about to have a baby. I will get you to fetch me more. Get Caleb to help you bring water.”

The young servant girl looked shyly up to Mary and then hung her head and continued walking, staggering a little under the weight of the water pitcher.

As they came through the stable door, Mary was greeted with the bleating of the sheep’s and the smell of hay and other things she didn’t want to think about. Mary wriggled her nose and sneezed.


A donkey brayed and somewhere in the darkness a cow mooed.

“Be quiet all of you! “Mara commanded, “You have guests.”

The oil lamps Mara and Hannah carried were placed on a wood shelf and instantly a soft light glow illuminated the stable. Mary noticed a small dry manger in the middle and she smiled, it looked like a baby’s crib. Around it was fluffy warm hay making it a cosy area. Mary could imagine laying on the warm hay and falling asleep.

A sudden pain shot through the body and this time she couldn’t supress the sound.

Everyone in the room stopped.

Then suddenly Mara got into action and sent everyone into frenzy. Mary closed her eyes and breathed louder. The baby was truly on the way.

Written by: Mae Esther

Special effect editing: James Wagner

music credit: http://www.purple-planet.com/

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