Joseph was tired. So very tired.

Bone aching, joint stiffening, weariness. It had been a very long day. Some had said that it was unwise to try to get to Bethlehem for the census, but what other choice had there been? Roman soldiers did not care about your pregnant wife or the almost two week long journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem walking over the rocky and sandy paths, some dangerous even for the most sturdy of travelers. What was he to do but try and make the journey, and pray that Jehovah would keep them safe.

So very tired.

And so the journey had been made, through the arid desert, stumbling over rock and shrub, every step another shekel of sand seemed to grind its way into his clothes. Every step another throb of worry that the mule would stumble and Mary would fall to rocks and the Promise inside her would die.

So very tired.

The ceremony had been a strange one, smiles had been forged carefully on everyone’s faces, but behind the masks, the eyes showed the contempt, Isn’t Mary pregnant? What is Joseph doing? I heard it’s not his child. Even if it is, how could he bring such shame on his family? If it isn’t, how can he live with himself? It’s disgraceful either way. He had seen the cracks in the masks, he had seen the disgust behind the eyes. But he stood firm. He looked each one in the face with eyes of defiance, as they smiled and the cracks widened, and he stood between them and his new wife, his beloved, his Mary.

So very tired.

The realization had knocked the breath from him. He stood dazed, struggling for clarity or purpose. Pregnant? How? He had looked at the excited and timid face of his fiancé and had felt confusion and betrayal. He had had to walk away, to clear his head and to cry out to God: Why? But the heavens had remained silent, and only the wind answered his cries. Emotionally exhausted, he slumped against a tree and fell asleep. Joseph. A bright figure. Mary tells the Truth. What has been conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you will name him Jesus. Oh… “The Lord saves”. For He will save His people from their sins. And he had awoke, with peace in his heart, and faith in his soul. He knew what this would mean, but the Lord had chosen him to be a part of his plan, and he would carry this out faithfully.

So very tired.

Joseph looked down at the little sleeping child before him and felt a pride and a joy rise up from deeper in his heart than he ever thought was possible. God had given him this little one to raise, and he would carry out his part joyfully. He looked at Mary, his love swelling and tears ran down his face as he held her close. The Lord had given them all they had needed. And He would continue to care for them and their child.

So incredibly, wonderfully, beautifully, joyously, tired.

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