Advent Day 13: Long Journey

Reading

Meditation

There are a lot of factoids that surround the Christmas story.  The Messiah was prophesied to be born in Bethlehem, the city of David, yet Joseph and Mary were natives of Nazareth.  Realistically, there was no reason at all for them to travel and certainly not during pregnancy.  It was even less likely that they would have chosen to travel so close to her birth.  So the timing of this decree by Caesar August was perfect timing as far as prophetic fulfillment is concerned.
 
Perfect timing; would we expect anything else from God though?
 
Bethlehem is a 33-hour walk from Nazareth, using today’s roadways.  Given Mary’s imminent birth, the hazardous travel conditions, and the renowned stubbornness of donkeys, it is not at all a stretch to imagine that this trip took three to five days.  If you are a woman reading this, can you imagine going through that pregnant?  It almost seems unfair to Mary to make her go through this just to fulfill a more than 500-year-old prophecy.
 
Sometimes the things that we go through in life don’t seem fair at the time.  Indeed, life is full of long and difficult journies as we see God working through our situations to mold, shape, and build us.  The proverbial roads of life that we travel are sometimes rough and we can be pretty stubborn when things don’t go our way.
 
Yet, in the midst of these difficult times, and especially on the other side of them, we see God’s work and promise fulfilled in our lives.  We may not have wanted to go; we might not have had any reason that we could see to endure.  God, however, can see the bigger picture and has a plan for each of us.
 
Had Joseph and Mary not gone to Bethlehem, a small part of the prophecy would not have been fulfilled.  It would have brought into question the whole person and purpose of Jesus.  Perhaps, in our long and difficult seasons of life, God is up to some important thing that He knows we just can’t live without either.  I’m sure Mary and Joseph’s journey required a lot of trust on their part.  We, too, need to trust the One who knows each second of our lives before they ever came to be.  His timing is always perfect.

Prayer

Sanctifying Lord,
We stand in awe of how You bring about each and every moment of the universe,
You know us and the plans You have for us.
In Scripture, You tell us those plans are to prosper us and give us hope and a future.
We confess that, more often than not, we are unwilling to trust You.
Instead, we hold onto control, thinking that we know better than You.
Help us to see where You are at work in our lives,
and to let go of our control, trusting You and Your plans for us.
Thank You for Jesus, and for the Holy Spirit that guides us.
May we listen for Your voice and follow Your leading,
Amen.

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