Two travelers are on a road in the hill country. One is Mary, who’s thinking: “I’m so excited! The Messiah is coming! I feel as if I could dance the entire trip ahead of me. I can’t wait to see Elizabeth.”
Imagine you’re the other traveler: an apprentice carpenter. You’ve been charged with an important duty: caring for your boss’s beloved. Can you keep her safe? Just look at her! She’s practically running! What’s her secret? She has one, you can tell. She was so eager to get going. Joseph said she’s going to visit a cousin, but there’s more to her story.
And this is a hot journey. Do you have enough water? You’re thirsty already.
As you watch, Mary’s mood suddenly changes. Now she is pensive, and her pace slows. What is she thinking about?
You’d be surprised if you knew! She’s thinking, “Oh, God! I’m pregnant. What will Joseph say? How will I tell him? Or will he notice my belly on my return? What have I agreed to do? Why send the Messiah as a baby? To me? How can I raise a Messiah?”
Mary asks you, “Do you ever think about the Messiah coming?”
“Sometimes,” you reply. “I wonder if he is born already.”
Mary, laughing, replies, “Oh, I’m sure he’s not!”
You’re puzzled. Why is she so sure? Now she’s skipping again. You hustle to keep up. It’s easy to see why Joseph loves her. Her light heart compliments a cheerful spirit.
Now you watch her mood change again. Her footsteps slow. She begins praying, quoting Deuteronomy 6:4–7: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD is our God, the LORD alone.” She intones in a sing-song voice, “you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.”
The pleasant lilt in her voice makes the monotonous but hasty journey contagiously joyful.
“And these words,” Mary continues, “which I command to you this day, shall be in your heart. And you shall teach them diligently to your children.…”
Mary stops abruptly. Her eyes widen. She begins singing again. “And you shall teach them diligently to your children.” She pauses significantly. And you shall “talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise.”
Mary grins widely as you stare. She appears to wake as if from a dream, laughing as she notices your overprotective expression. She starts walking again.
“Everything will be fine,” Mary reassures you in a confident tone.
And she ponders again: “I’m pregnant, and bringing the Messiah on his first visit. If only this apprentice knew he was accompanying the Messiah on his first journey! He’d probably be even more nervous than I see he is already. I should stop chuckling. I can’t help it. This kind fellow has no idea that he accompanies the Son of God on his first pilgrimage.”
Mary begins almost running again, twirling like a little girl up the road.
“Oh, baby Jesus inside of me,” she thinks, “you are right here. I can’t help but dance and give praise! I will never be alone again.”