Day Ten: Twelve Days of Christmas
Traveling can be rough.
I measure a trip’s success based on flight delays, bag arrivals, and how rude the passengers are. Traveling is tough! I know, bless my heart.
Caesar declared a census of the entire Roman world and since Rome ruled Palestine, Joseph had to go to Bethlehem to register. The census required everyone to register in their ancestral homes.
Joseph took Mary and off they went, traveling around Samaria, then south to Jericho, and up to Jerusalem, then the last few miles to Bethlehem.
It was a ninety-mile trip and Mary was nine months pregnant.
The trip usually depicts Mary riding a donkey, although it isn’t recorded in scripture. But given her condition, it’s unthinkable that she would have walked the ninety miles. Would a ninety mile donkey ride be easy and comfortable, nine months pregnant?
Temperatures would be in the 40’s at night, and if it was late December, it could drop to freezing. Their journey would take several days: Did they pitch a tent, cook over a fire, sleep on the ground?
It would be tough for Joseph and miserable for Mary.
On The Trail
The baby was close. They knew they were having a son, and that he would be named Jesus. They knew Micah’s prophecy about the Messiah being born in Bethlehem. Did they realize what that meant for them?
For us, Bethlehem was a village in a faraway place. But for Joseph and Mary it was a difficult and dangerous trip. But necessary, not only for the census, but for his birth, for Jesus could not be born elsewhere.
His birth was announced by angels, witnessed by shepherds, and honored by Magi. He survived King Herod. And after all that, when the time came, he died outside of Jerusalem, just a few miles from his birth place.
They were so young, and were having their first baby, and not at home but in a Bethlehem stable. I don’t know their standard for a successful trip, but by my standards, they would never have left Nazareth.
We should be grateful.