I am sending this short letter with a distant relative whom Mary and I met in Bethlehem – Simon bar Josiah. Simon has promised to deliver this letter to all of our family when he travels soon to Nazareth.
Our journey to Bethlehem was difficult for Mary, since she was so heavy with child. We could not keep up with the caravans traveling to Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Mary rode our donkey for the bulk of our travel which slowed the pace of our journey to Bethlehem. We were often alone during the days and nights of our travel, but our merciful and gracious Lord protected and sustained us. Mary and I arrived safely even though the journey took much longer than we had anticipated.
Mary and I could not find proper lodging when we arrived, since so many people had arrived in Bethlehem ahead of us. A kind soul pointed out the grottos on the hillside outside of Bethlehem where sheep were sometimes sheltered at night. We were able to find an empty cave which was a warm and quiet place, and Mary was delivered safely of our Son. We named the child Yeshua at His circumcision. He is a strong and healthy child.
I was able to find lodging for us in Bethlehem a few days after the child’s birth, as most of those who had come for the census had now returned home. It is a small living space, but it is quiet and secure. Both Mary and the child are doing well. God’s Providence has been guiding us throughout all this time of difficulty. May the Lord be praised!
I have found work to help support us while we await the time of Mary’s Purification. Mary and I look forward to returning home to Nazareth once this time of waiting is over. The child will be stronger as will Mary, so I am hopeful that the return journey to Nazareth will be safe for both Mary and the child.
Please give our sincere thanks to our new found relative Simon when he visits with you. He has been helping our little family more than I can say in this short letter.