Personal thoughts, (based on the Bible) for your blessing over the Christmas Season. You are loved!
It had been two days since they had left Nazareth on this journey – a journey that they had to take and was not convenient. Mary, seated on the donkey, was in much discomfort and pain. She was so tired! Joseph leading the donkey alongside her, tried to dismiss uncomfortable thoughts that invaded his mind. Will they be in time? (They must register!) Will Mary give birth early? Will anyone be watching for their arrival and greet them? (His relatives must be around somewhere!)
The rough uneven road made travel difficult and this to Joseph made progress sometimes slow. Mary grimaced as another pain coursed through her body. Oh, to be released from this situation! She remembered Gabriel’s words: She was specially chosen and he had known where to find her! He knew her name! She thought of all that he had told her as the donkey plodded onwards. Looking around at her fellow travelers she could see nothing that was different. They were chatting excitedly about anticipated reunions and changes they would see, about celebrations, and surprises as they registered. The baby stirred, reminding her that Jesus was within her. The journey she was on was one that God had planned and timed, difficult as it was, Jesus was with her and His Father knew every detail.
How much longer? Is Bethlehem in sight? More excited people joined the group, greeting each other jostling together and recounting their expectations joyfully. No one seemed to notice the young woman as she squirmed on her donkey with yet another pain and they were coming closer now. Nearly there!
In the failing daylight Joseph lead the donkey through the congested town gates under the scrutinizing eyes of the town leaders and officials. The Roman soldiers were intent on moving everyone through rapidly. Joseph gave his name and with shrugged shoulders they dismissed his inquiry about accommodation. They gestured at the crowds and hurriedly moved them into the crowded streets. So many people and it was almost sundown. People jostled them, busily preoccupied with their own troubles and plans. Street traders shouted their wares, thieves and pick pockets quietly worked their trade worming through the unsuspecting travelers. Shouts of victims and laughter of the jubilant all mingled with animal sounds and irritated soldiers commanding some sense of order. Jesus was amongst them.
How could this be God’s will? Where are His answers? “No room.” “No room.” “Move along there!” Rejection and more rejection! Finally, Joseph desperately led Mary behind the Inn to the animal shelter. She was in so much pain. Quickly he scanned the shelter, selecting a secluded part which he cleared and helped Mary to the stones he’d gathered. The pain was overwhelming as she squatted. She could hear the sounds of the busy active town as she yielded to the huge contractions engulfing her body for the birth of her child. Push and again…He slipped from her body into the world, a world that had already rejected and ignored him.
Mary and Joseph again knew the wonder of all that God had done. They had been an ordinary couple who had been especially chosen for a unique role. Their journey had been difficult and hard but it had been planned by God, even to this lowly shelter but Jesus was with them each step of the way. In God’s timing His power and glory were revealed as the heavens rang with acclamations, angelic voices filling the air with: “Glory to God in the Highest,” above the throngs and noisy confusion of an ignorant world so busily preoccupied and focused on their own plans.
Although our journey can be difficult, we are each chosen for a unique task and Jesus is with us! In His timing God will be glorified.
“Emmanuel” which means “God is with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
With my love, Anne McVicar