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22nd Dec 2021

Unto us a Son is given

We have started contemplating Mary & Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem.
Yesterday we considered some of the wider cosmic changing events that were being set in motion.
Today I want to muse on the practicalities & human challenges involved in the endeavour.

At that time Emperor Augustus ordered a census to be taken throughout the Roman Empire.
When this first census took place, Quirinius was the governor of Syria.
Everyone, then, went to register himself, each to his own hometown.

Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, the birthplace of King David.
Joseph went there because he was a descendant of David.
He went to register with Mary, who was promised in marriage to him.
She was pregnant, and while they were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to have her baby.
She gave birth to her first son, wrapped him in cloths and laid him in a manger — there was no room for them to stay in the inn. Luke 2:1-7

A journey of 90 miles through dusty trails along rocky, desert & mountainous terrain.
South along the flatlands of the Jordan River, then west over the hills surrounding Jerusalem, and on into Bethlehem.
Hot in the day & so, so cold at night. Wild animals & bandits at points along the route.
A difficult & potentially dangerous journey at any time.
Even more so for a pregnant lady!

It likely took at least a week & for safety they probably travelled as part of a caravan.
So very different from the traditional Christmas Card images we see today!!
It would also have taken careful planning to ensure adequate provisions.
Did Mary walk, ride or travel in a cart?
The responsibilities God gives us run deep & entail considerable costs.
What about the priceless gift Mary is carrying.
Joseph entrusted to keep mother & child safe & well.
Physical & emotional challenges & pressures for both to endure.
Under God’s protection & through His provision they made it safely to Bethlehem.
A triumph of divine sovereignty & human responsibility.

Mary & Joseph showed great courage & resolve to overcome the challenges they faced.
God moves powerfully as we are faithful & obedient to what He calls us to do.
He is always moving His plans & purposes forward as we faithfully play our part.
That part, whether large or small, is always significant.
Your contribution is far more than you could ever hope or imagine.
May we always rise to the challenge set before us & do our bit.

For Reflection

  • What are the challenges, or costs, in my journey with Jesus at this time?
  • What part has God entrusted me with right now?
  • Mediate upon the physical & emotional challenge & cost that Mary & Joseph faced.

A song related to the theme:


Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the great gift of Christ our Saviour.
May we fully embrace & faithfully fulfil the responsibilities You assign to us,
May we always be willing to pay the costs despite the perils & dangers we might face.
Through the presence & power of Your indwelling Spirit,
Help & strengthen us to overcome every challenge that arises in response to Your call on our lives.
In the mighty name of Jesus,

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