We’ve seen images like this before, the expectant family heading to Bethlehem. From Mary’s viewpoint, this was not what she wanted to do at this time. I’m sure she wanted to be “nesting” at home with family, anticipating the arrival of a newborn. Riding, or more accurately being jostled on the back of an animal (they don’t come with shock absorbers), to travel some 90 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem on dirt roads had to hurt! And, then arriving to a city with no room for her to rest. Kudos to Joseph for finding someplace – anyplace – however inappropriate it seemed, so that she could deliver her child.
We cherish and celebrate the thought that the King of the Universe came to us here on earth in very humble settings. And rightly so, the King stepping down to “our” level so that we can relate to him better! This child becomes the Savior for a planet marred with sin, providing Everlasting Life to those who choose to believe!
The part of this story I wish to reflect on at this time is that this was a time of restrictions – remember the taxation (a government implemented law) that necessitated the reason for the trip in the first place? Then, the restrictive atmosphere of no available rooms. Sure, this was an unusual circumstance. But isn’t life filled with unusual circumstances?
Globally, we are experiencing unusual circumstances. We have been restricted from what we consider normal, or even what we might think is “safe”. We have been told to stay home as much as possible for the health and safety of our families and other families that we don’t even know. I choose to be like Mary – deal with the situation, no matter how inconvenient it seems.
We know the end of Mary’s story. We are however, still living in our situation and don’t know the end yet. My thoughts are – let’s stay safe – let us carry forward the motto “Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men” throughout this Holiday Season by considering that today’s inconvenience is just that – today. We look forward to the tomorrow (even if it might be next Christmas) when we all can assemble together again safely.
Mary did not have the advantages we have today --- technology has made it possible to connect with one another even when distance prevails. May your Holiday Season be techno-filled with family and friends, and the true “Reason for the Season” live in your hearts!