Let’s look at the Christmas story a little closer this week.
Let’s start with the Journey to Bethlehem. When Mary and Joseph said yes to God, they knew the road would have baby bumps, but did they imagine it would be this hard? And so their first family road trip begins. Some honeymoon.
Luke 2:1-5 (CEB)
2 In those days Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists. 2 This first enrollment occurred when Quirinius governed Syria. 3 Everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled.4 Since Joseph belonged to David’s house and family line, he went up from the city of Nazareth in Galilee to David’s city, called Bethlehem, in Judea. 5 He went to be enrolled together with Mary, who was promised to him in marriage and who was pregnant.
Can’t you just see Mary and Joseph on the trail for a couple of lonely days, traveling from Nazareth to Jerusalem? Him holding the bit and bridle and she riding on the beast of burden. It’s the image captured on many Christmas cards. Interestingly, it’s probably wrong. This journey would have taken at least 4 days, probably closer to a week since Mary was 9 months or so pregnant. They would have traveled the road with others who were headed in the same direction because there is safety in numbers.
I traveled around town in a cozy car with my wife when she was pregnant. Day-to-day, I started giving us an extra 15 minutes to get across town, because we might have to make a bathroom stop. Twice.
Ladies, I can’t imagine what this was like for Mary whether she was walking or riding. I have ridden a donkey, and trust me, it wasn’t comfortable, and I wasn’t 9 months pregnant.
Gentlemen, I can’t imagine what this was like for Joseph (and Mary). Any wonder they arrive late, with no rooms left in Bethlehem?
80 to 90 miles they traveled, to sleep outside with animals. I wonder if they ever questioned, what have we gotten ourselves into? Their journey would have required tremendous faith and patience.
With my coffee mug in hand, I propose a toast to the Mary and Joseph, who made this arduous journey.
Prayer: Lord, many of us face many challenges. Walk with us this day. Amen.