Inconvenience of travel
The trip was an inconvenience. Except that Mary knew her Baby was to be born in Bethlehem. Still, traveling 90 miles days or weeks before a due date was not comfortable, considering their means. Whether she walked, rode a donkey or a camel, it could not have been fun – or convenient.
But she went because there was a decree that said her husband had to go. Caesar Augustus, a pagan ruler, demanded a census be taken. So they went to Bethlehem because Joseph was from the lineage of David.
I certainly would not have planned that trip so close to the due date of my child. But Caesar spoke, so they went, inconvenience and all.
Inconvenience of reputation
Talk had to be plenty, because later Jesus was referred to as an illegitimate child. What an inconvenience, having one’s reputation on the line about sexual morality when they (His parents) had done no wrong. Neither of them asked for this assignment, yet they accepted it and the inconvenience of a marred reputation because of the assignment.
Their entire lives, some people assumed they knew what was not true. Mary and Joseph knew what people thought, and they knew the truth. Yet that didn’t negate the pain they felt from a reputation marred by assumptions not true.
Inconvenience of comfort
No woman wants to be far from home when it’s her time to have her baby. She wants to be with people she knows; she hopes for help from her mother or her family, to be sure. Mary didn’t experience that, because her birth took place ninety miles from home.
That same night, strangers – shepherds – entered the stable they claimed as their birthing center. Shepherds, the lowliest of the low, invaded their privacy to see the new baby.
She was young, and she was a new mother – but they came to see and to worship. Mary experienced the inconvenience of comfort because she gave birth to the Messiah.
Less than two years later, she traveled with Joseph to Egypt in a hurried trip during the night. There was no time to prepare or pack her bags. An angel told Joseph to take Mary and the baby and “Go.” So they went. What were her thoughts during that night as they stealthily made their way to Egypt?
A path for today
When God asked and when He called, they obeyed. That’s all He asks of us. When Christmas is difficult and relationships are strained, He knows. He asks that we submit to the journey set before us. Whether it’s ninety miles to Bethlehem or several hundred to escape to Egypt, He goes before us and leads the way.
When we follow willingly, the inconvenience becomes an opportunity to be part of His plan to bring hope and comfort to a world weary of sin, care, and discord. Through His children, He shines light. Become a light that guides those who need to find the way.
Focus on the journey and not on the inconveniences. Focus on the destination and not the travesty. Then you, too, can find Joy this Christmas season!