"In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus . . . " (Luke 2)
So here it is a few days before Christmas, before The Birth. For just a moment, let’s strip Mary of the heavy burden of Holy Mother of God. Let’s see her as she probably saw herself: a very pregnant, uncomfortable woman who had to travel by donkey to a distant city. Now I have birthed two children and I know what happens to a mother’s body within a few days of birth. We nest. We gather husband and family around us. We clean. We prepare. There is something in our genes that does this. I know I am certainly not a cleaner naturally, but wow, did I clean. And suddenly Mary has to travel.
For the next few days I will be aware of the reality of this birth.
“Joseph, we have to room for some swaddling cloths.”
“Joseph, you know I’ve been craving soup. Please, find room for some vegetables so I can make some soup on the road.”
“Joseph . . . “
Or maybe she really did all this in silence scared to even call attention to what was about to happen in their lives.
I learned but do not remember how long a walking, donkey-back journey would have taken from Nazareth to Bethlehem ~ doesn’t matter. Mary would have gathered and prepared and if she couldn’t “nest” at home, she would do her best on the road.
The Gospel writers didn’t write to tell us about real life. They wrote to tell us the truth of the messianic prophecy fulfilled in the man Jesus. I find great comfort in the idea of the real life that took place in and around the prophetic story. A young pregnant woman setting out on a literal journey that would lead to a life-changing journey for all human kind.
Blessed be as you make your journey of grace.