Joseph and Mary had to go to the other end
of the country to be counted in a national
census.  It was a long, hard trip.  Mary was
about to have her baby, Jesus.

When they arrived in Bethlehem, they went to
the only hotel in town.  It was full of other
people who had to come to be counted too.

They wandered the streets with nowhere to
go.  Mary and Joseph were homeless.  Joseph
was so ashamed.

Joseph was afraid God was mad at them.  
After all, God had trusted him to take care
of his baby and Mary.  Joseph had let them

Finally he began knocking on doors to see if
they could stay in someone's house.  But
everyone's house was full with other people
visiting Bethlehem to be counted.

After awhile, Joseph left Mary to sit out on
the curb so she wouldn't have to walk to all
those houses.  He made their donkey lie down
so Mary could lean on it.

"My wife is about to have a baby," he'd
pleaded at each house.  "Can you let us stay
in your house, at least tonight?"  But no one
had any room left in their already crowded

Finally Joseph gave up and sat down on the
curb with Mary, wondering what to do.  They
prayed, "God help us find a house to stay in."

Finally Mary had an idea.  A barn would at
least put them under a roof.  Joseph didn't
see any other choice.  He asked God to
forgive him for having to go to a barn.

But Mary said they'd have a lot more room in
a barn than all those people crammed in those
houses.  And they'd have their privacy too.

Sure enough, they were able to find a barn
and rest.  

Then Jesus was born.  There was clean hay
nearby.  So Joseph made a cradle for baby
Jesus in a feeding trough with a mattress of
clean hay.  God looked down and smiled.

By the next day, some shepherds had spread
word all over town a baby had been born in a
barn.  Even though Mary and Joseph later
moved to a house, people laughed at them for
living in a barn.

But Mary and Joseph learned not to be
ashamed of their barn.  So whenever people
made fun of them, they would just hold their
heads up and walk tall.

Is there something in your life you are
ashamed of?  Practice smiling and walking tall,
even when people make fun of you.  Then
you'll be just like Mary and Joseph.