A long journey

Posted: December 16, 2016 in Thoughts on God

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)

A house guest was surprised to see my nativity set outside encrusted in snow and ice. I have thought about everyone who had seen it over the years and never questioned it.

I faithfully set this rustic wooden set outside at the beginning of Advent each year. It looks harsh and implies how severe the journey to Bethlehem must have been. It reminds me how many sacrifices and hardships the holy family endured, starting with Mary agreeing to conceive through the Holy Spirit. Who among us would have the courage to act as nobly as Mary did? She boldly accepted God’s will and whatever difficulties and complications came with it. None of it was easy including the arduous journey she made wearing flimsy sandals on her feet and a donkey to ride. Can you imagine her being pregnant and walking nearly 80 miles under such extreme conditions at the age of 13 with an older man she barely knew? Mary did it because God asked.

When I see my nativity set outside braving the harsh winds, I am reminded to think of Mary when God makes requests of me. Sometimes what God wants might be difficult to accept or seem impossible to do. The journey might appear to be long and exhausting. I could be scared along the way. And when I think I am done, God might tell me to do more. Many Christmases have come and gone, and I seldom reflect on the 250-mile flight into Egypt, which Mary and Joseph schlepped on foot with a newborn baby. My humble wooden nativity set reminds me of all of that.

Just as God took care of Mary, he will also take care of you during what seems to be a long exhausting journey


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