|Posted by Brian Linebarger on December 17, 2011 at 8:15 AM|
Today there are 8 days before Christmas…. As we know, it is most likely that Jesus was born in the summer months, but still, no matter what month He was born, Mary & Joseph had to make the journey to Bethlehem, so it would have been about this time (8 days before His birth) that they would have started their journey.
Now this was not an easy journey. Even though it was 70 miles or so, they couldn’t get in the family station wagon and make the trip in a little over an hour. Instead, they had to walk, and Mary rode on a donkey due to her pregnancy. This of course, meant that Joseph had to walk.
They most likely traveled with other members of the family, and although they would have had people to pass the time with, it did not make the journey any easier.
They had to contend with wilderness, wild animals, and the fact that they could travel a maximum of 4-6 miles a day (stopping for meals, etc, and as top ramen had not yet been invented, meal times were a long affair).
Suffice to say that it took a lot of effort to get there, and Joseph, as head of his little family, was charged with and expected to protect Mary (and most likely others in the caravan as he was on older man, but still young enough to be strong and be expected to provide protection)
The mind must wander then to what hazards they faced on that trip. Waking up in the morning to continue the journey, he would have been expected to plan how to provide food and water for the journey, as well as make sure they were on the right track (again, with no GPS to guide them, it was a little more complicated).
Adding to the stress that was inherent in traveling long distances in that era, was the fact that Joseph already knew at this point that the baby Mary was carrying was the son of God. So how much more would he have made sure that Mary was protected and as comfortable as possible.
Of course, after all this, when they finally got there, they had no place to stay. No comfortable bed, no labor & delivery room, not even a midwife to help with the delivery. It was just them……….
They went through all of this, made all this effort for the protection of Jesus, and yet today, a lot of people have a problem getting up and going to Church when it is only a few miles away, and they can travel in an hour what took them a week or more. Somewhere over the years, we have become lazy. We want everything done on our schedule, and if God interferes with that, we tend to put Him on the back burner.
The story of their journey can teach us a lot about persevering and making the effort to do what God wants us to do. The next time you are needed at a Church function or service, or The Lord wants you to make an effort (even if it gets you out of your comfort zone), because He needs something done, and before you start to make up the excuses as to why you cant do it, just think back to that journey and the effort it took for them to make it.
I can guarantee that whatever you excuse you can come up with will pale in comparison to what they went through so that Jesus could be born, so that He could show us how to minister, and so that He could die, opening the way for us to come to God……….