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The Nativity Story
by Angela Hunt

The Nativity Story
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Book Excerpt

An Unforgettable Journey

By Angela Hunt
Author, The Nativity Story from The Nativity Story, a Tyndale House novelization based on the motion picture)

One family. One journey. One child who would change the world forever.

As the first shadows of night drifted over the eastern plain, Joseph pressed on, eager to reach Bethlehem before the watchman closed the city gates. Mary had fallen silent on the donkey. He wondered if she dozed, until he heard the sound of a quiet cough.

A cough—not a good sound. He glanced over his shoulder, saw her huddled beneath her mantle, and glimpsed her drawn face. She could not ride much farther.

He looked ahead and saw a glimmer of light by the side of the road. Another shepherd, an old man, sat in front of a small fire, but he would have nothing to offer.

Joseph intended to nod and continue walking, but the old man spoke to him. “Your woman is cold.”

With an eye on the disappearing sun, Joseph ignored the comment; then he heard Mary’s voice. “Just for a moment? Can we . . . stop?”

They stopped. Joseph helped Mary from the donkey and watched, anxious about the late hour, as she held her hands before the crackling fire. A few feet away, a sheep bleated from within its protective hedge of stones and piled brush.

From out of the twilight gloom, a lamb appeared at Mary’s side, seeking the warmth of her cloak.

The old man leaned forward. “Go on now. You already have a warm coat.”

The lamb bleated again and scampered away.

“The little ones.” The shepherd linked his hands. “They slip through the cracks. That one got herself lost only yesterday. I was lucky to find her.”

Joseph waited by the donkey and studied Mary’s face as she lowered her hands and smiled. “I will tell our child about you,” she said, daring to touch the shepherd’s shoulder. “About your kindness.”

The weather-beaten man only stared into the fire, but as Mary turned to Joseph, he spoke again. “My father told me long ago that we are all given something. A gift.” The old man smiled as fire shadows lit his face. “Your gift is what you carry inside.”

“And what,” Mary answered, “is yours?”

The old man shook his head. “Nothing. Nothing but the hope of waiting for one.”

Joseph extended his hand toward his wife. “We must go. If we’re to reach Bethlehem by dark, we need to hurry.”

Mary looked at him with compassion in her eyes. “You need to rest.”

“I can rest in Bethlehem.”

He was afraid she would disagree, but she accepted his hand and let him lead the way.

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Excerpted from The Nativity Story, a Tyndale House novelization based on the motion picture, copyright © 2006 by Tyndale House.. Used by Permission.
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