Sunday, December 5, 2010

So Joseph went from the Galilean town of Nazareth up to Bethlehem in Judah, David’s town, for the census. As a descendent of David, he had to go there. He went with Mary, his fiancée, who was pregnant. (Luke 2:4-5, from The Message Bible)

The people of the time placed a lot of importance on their ancestors. Various characters all throughout the Bible will have whole lists written of their descendants. It would only make sense to them that if they were all going to be counted that they would go to the hometowns of their ancestors.

Looking on a map, Nazareth appears to be fairly close to Bethlehem, approximately 90 miles. It would’ve taken them at least several days, though, to walk that distance, especially with Mary being pregnant. We always picture Mary riding a donkey with Joseph walking beside her. There’s no mention though in the Bible that she rode a donkey, and being that they were relatively poor, it is possible that she was walking right along with Joseph.

When we take a trip somewhere, we make plans. We study a map and pack our bags. Things were different in Jesus’ time. There was no GPS, no triple A, and not even a spacious SUV. The donkey might have been their only luxury. Maybe. If they had a donkey. Imagine taking a week-long trip without any of the comforts we are used to. Now, imagine being pregnant besides.

(Two years ago I wrote a devotional, The Christmas Story in 40 Days, describing the events leading up to the birth of Christ. Through the month of December, I will share a passage from that book each week in my Sunday blog. I hope you enjoy – I will as during this busy time of the year, I won’t have to write one each week! Have a blessed Christmas season.)

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