Make Room for Joseph and Mary

There was no room in the Subaru.

It was jam-packed with groceries from Aldi: ginger ale for sick sisters, brown sugar for baking, and ice cream for the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe we would celebrate that night.

I had just put the key in the ignition and Sr. Isabelle Marie had walked away to return the carts when I saw them. A young Latino man in a grey hoodie and a beautiful young blonde woman in a puffy red coat approached, munching on pop-tarts they both held in their hands. I could see they had been walking toward the bus stop a few yards away from where I was parked, until they saw me.

Wearing a veil kind of gets you noticed. The young man moved toward me and gestured pleadingly.

I rolled down my window and asked if I could help them. He said he saw that my car was pretty full, but asked if we could give them a ride to their place down near Kroger, in another part of town. Otherwise they would have to wait in the cold for the next bus, which wouldn’t come for another hour or so.

By this time, Sr. Isabelle Marie was back to the car and agreed with me that we should help them out, since we were headed that direction anyway. As they helped us move the groceries around and make room for them in the back seat, we exchanged names. Josh said Britney was pregnant—about 20 weeks—and they didn’t know if It was a boy or a girl yet.

They squeezed into the back seat and we were off. They thanked us profusely and described their adventures that day. Britney had just rolled her ankle after coming out of the Dollar Tree, where they had been shopping. She said they had trouble with a grumpy bus driver earlier that day, and she teased Josh for not wearing a heavier coat in the freezing weather.

They said they had met some of our other sisters at our thrift store downtown, who were helping them get a blow-up bed for their house.

We didn’t say much—we just listened. By this time we were near their house. They told us where to stop and hopped out, thanking us again. We assured them of our prayers.

Sister and I reflected on their not-so-ordinary appearance to us on our way home. We knew it couldn’t be a coincidence. It was a great grace for the Lord to send us this Joseph and Mary to teach us to make room for God’s sometimes unexpected presence among us.

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