“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.” Luke 2:4,5 (ESV)
On this Christmas Eve, I want to look back and reflect on the birth of Jesus.
The distance Joseph and Mary had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem was about 80 miles. Since they were traveling by foot, it probably took them between 5-7 days to make the journey especially since Mary was at the end of her pregnancy. While many modern depictions of Joseph and Mary traveling have her riding on a donkey, there is no Biblical reference to confirm it.
The shortest distance would take them through Samaria, a region not particularly friendly to Jews. In addition, there were other dangers such as bandits and wild animals since lions and bears were known to inhabit Israel during this time.
We should recognize that this was not a pleasant journey.
With Mary at the end of her pregnancy, they were both likely concerned about the possibility of labor starting during their travel…or as it turned out…while they were in Bethlehem.
Maternal and infant mortality 2000 years ago were both very real and accentuated by delivering a child in unplanned circumstances without the assistance of someone experienced in childbirth.
Despite these many concerns, they both chose to place their faith in the Lord.
Our culture has wrapped the Christmas story into a nice, neat, and safe package without pointing out the many life-threatening situations facing this couple as they embarked on this journey. We live in an age and society in which the chance of encountering danger is much less than Biblical times.
We have lost sight of what it means to trust in the Lord…as Mary and Joseph did.
This young couple placed their lives in the hands of the Lord in a very tangible way, and He took care of them.
The Lord may ask you to embark on a journey…a risky journey.
If the Lord is calling you…you can be sure He will care for you as He did Mary and Joseph.
Prayer: Lord, show me what it looks like to have the faith of Mary and Joseph in today’s world.