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Joseph was only worried and weary;
Pain stole the breath of Mary
As they trod Judea's valleys
And desert to Bethlehem's dark alleys.
Joseph's cloak flapped in the wind;
Their silhouette was pinned
Against a sky eerily bright;
They loomed as shadows in the night.
Chill gusts reddened Mary's plumper face;
A donkey, and the Nazareth brace,
Prophetically destined to be three
As mankind's greatest family.

The low stabs quickened, it was time,
She knew it was a woman's sign,
As clear as the star high above
Signaled a message of hope and love,
Vaulting mountains and churning seas,
To alert a welcoming committee
Of three Eastern men of wisdom,
Anxious to see the jewel of Christiandom;
Wearing crowns on their head;
One was black, legend said.

And then, in lowly confines
Another King, Immanuel, arrived,
As spasms shook Mary to the core;
Alike, yet not unlike, men before,
For this was highest royalty.
A plaintive wail, Joseph speaks anxiously;
A donkey brays, a cattle hoof stamps;
Bovine breath warms the damp,
A soft moan escapes the suffering mother;
The Father's will brings forth the Other.

She had said, "Be it done unto me,"
In obedience to authority;
With faith and the affirmative nod
She succumbed to the Word of God;
So Jesus became the Word made man,
According to His Father's plan.

The God of creation laid in that cave,
For a later purpose: to save
Mankind from punishment for sin;
To be stripped naked before kin;
Hung in agony on a barkless tree
Until death led to victory,
With no one to cradle His pierced head
Until He was laid on a stony bed,
Wrapped mummified in a dark tomb.
But now, emerging from the womb,
The Infant born sinless, without flaw,
Lies quietly in cloth and straw.

Does Mary know her newborn child
Is righteous, pure and undefiled;
Her motherhood would bring tragedy;
That He would slump in agony
On Calvary Hill in a wooden row,
To pay men's ransom despite their blows?

But for now, as she would later croon
When He came off the cross in gloom,
She holds Him close and pensively gazes;
An unleashed tear releases and grazes
The brow of the Son-God, infant-weak,
Resting, a baptismal drop on the Messiah's cheek.