Sunday, December 14, 2014
Eleven Days Til Christmas
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
The people in Bible times placed much importance on their family line, and they were expected to return to their ancestors' hometowns for the census. Various characters throughout the Bible have whole lists written of their descendants. It would only make sense to them that if they were all going to be counted, they would go to the hometowns of their ancestors.
Looking on a map, Nazareth appears to be fairly close to Bethlehem, approximately ninety miles away. It would’ve taken them at least several days to walk that distance, especially with Mary being pregnant. We picture Mary riding a donkey with Joseph walking beside her. There’s no mention in the Bible, however, that she rode a donkey. Since they were relatively poor, it is possible that she walked 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 no 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.
(From "The Christmas Story in 40 Days", published by Life Sentence Publishing, 2013)