Freedom Fellowship Podcast

in Advent

Little Donkey

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Little Donkey

Clip Clop, Clip Clop
is all my donkey speaks,
his little feet so close to mine
my pace he humbly keeps.

Clip Clop, Clip Clop
Do you know the one you keep?
It is the Creator of all the world
His Majesty so meek.

Mary was exhausted. Her first night’s stay in the countryside had been too painful to sleep. Joseph had stopped repeatedly the day before, her legs and back continued to spasm and cramp throughout the night.

Mary tried to hide her pain. How she wished for her mother to be with her! She remembered the times as a little girl when she would rub her back and sing to her. It did not seem that long ago.

It had been so difficult to tell her about the angel and the words that he spoke. At first, her mother was sure some evil man had hurt her; some Roman solider had forced himself on her. But then she heard of the miracle of old Elizabeth and somehow in her heart she knew Mary was telling the truth.

“Come on, Mary. We’re ready to go.” Joseph lifted her on the donkey, which stumbled for a moment under the weight. "Poor old Ben," Joseph thought to himself. He wondered if the tired old animal would make the journey. Worse than that, he wondered what would happen if he didn’t.

Mary was close to tears before the sun was over the treetops. Her tears, though, were not from the pain of the travel. They were not from the heartache of having left the only home she had ever known. Her tears fell in fear of what lay ahead for her and Joseph. What if this was all just a horrible mistake? What if old Ben was not able to carry her? What if the baby came so far out here in the countryside? Then a voice spoke deep inside her with strangely familiar words. "Nothing will be impossible..." Mary couldn’t quite make sense of it.

Nothing will be impossible with God.

They were the words the angel had spoken to Mary about her cousin Elizabeth! "Nothing will be impossible with God." The words turned over and over in her heart. They became truth. They became hope. They became healing to the bruised young soul, merely trying to follow the commands of Jehovah God.

Clip, clip, clip, clop. The rhythm of the little donkey’s feet against the stone path reminded Mary of an old song her mother had sung to her.

Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! Nothing!
Nothing is too difficult for Thee!

Little Ben picked up his pace. Joseph, off key but singing nonetheless, joined in Mary’s song. Even the baby, tucked beneath the heart of sweet Mary, rejoiced in his own unseen way.

in Advent

Mary Sweet Mary

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Mary, Sweet Mary

Mary, sweet Mary, how fearful it must be
To leave the home of your dear birth in the hills of Galilee.
Did sweet tears fall from your eyes, did your breaking heart turn cold? Or did you ponder the angel’s voice and the mystery he told?
Mary, sweet Mary, now travel the lonely road.
Bless you, child, for in your womb the Lord of Grace you hold.

“Sweet Mary...” Joseph’s voice was the only comfort in the black night of early morning. She had been lying on the little pallet most of the night awake and waiting. Her hands ran over her tummy, swollen with the life of her unborn son.

The grief had been so public and her joy so private these past months. Without a word, she took Joseph’s hand and struggled to her feet.

Her parents had left with the others of the household of David the week before to register in Bethlehem. Joseph thought it best to let the others go ahead. Such is the price of carrying a baby whose father was not known.

She was barely fifteen. Joseph was in his twenties. There was no send off, no farewells, no traveling mercies granted, no blessings of safety given.

No children ran ahead of the little donkey to usher them from the village, only the day’s first light and the “good riddance” glances of the early risers.

Hiding her tears behind her veil, she spoke the words of a child grasping for hope. “Joseph, tell me again about how it will all be.” Without turning from the path, Joseph told the tale again.

“Bethlehem will be a much better place to live than Nazareth,” he began. “We’ll find a little home there. And I’ll find plenty of work! In the evenings, I’ll build you the finest furniture in all of Israel. Wealthy women will all be coming to your house just to look at the fine furniture you have. My sweet Mary, it’s going to be a wonderful life!”

"My sweet Mary." It was Joseph’s way of showing his deep love for the young girl. "He could have had me stoned," she thought. "He could have had me shamed by the whole village." But Joseph had heard an angel, too. His righteous heart not only protected her but loved her as no other man could.

And now an eighty-mile trek lay ahead of them. Traveling east to Scythopolis and then turning south along the Jordan Valley, they would reach Jericho in four days. From there, they would cross over the treacherous road that leads to Jerusalem and finally reach Bethlehem before the Sabbath.

And, hopefully, the baby would wait.