The incredibly difficult journey to the Christmas manger

In the days of Mary and Joseph their betrothal lasted approximately one year. There was a contract for them to become husband and wife that we could best equate to our engagement. After a year, they had the official marriage. During that time Mary became pregnant by the Holy Spirit. She had known no male. Naturally this would have been shocking to Joseph since he considered Mary so devout. Once the angel appeared to him to accept the circumstances, his next decision was Mary’s condition. During her pregnancy a government order was issued for everyone to be taxed in their ancestral hometown which was in Joseph’s case Bethlehem. He did not want to leave Mary alone subject to ridicule. Their only choice was for Mary to go with him.

Consider how difficult this was! Christmas pictures present Mary riding on a donkey. The Bible does not support this. The journey would have been incredibly difficult. Keep in mind she was full-term pregnant. Depending on the route they took, they had to journey up to 90 miles! For woman in her condition to walk this distance was amazing. They probably could only transverse about 10 miles a day. That means they were out in the open air for at least one week. The terrain was rough, in a desert type atmosphere, vulnerable to robbers, and the path was subject to extremes of elevation. In all, they probably went up 1,400 feet from Galilee to Judea. It is likely that Joseph brought carpenters tools with him, also, because once Jesus was born, they began living in a house for at least two years.

The journey from Nazareth to the Bethlehem Christmas manger was an incredibly difficult path taken by two people (Mary and Joseph) because the government said it was necessary which became a fulfillment of prophecy. Let us not take lightly this trip to the manger. How many people today with the wife full-term pregnant could walk in a desert environment for a week at least on very steep paths? Our appreciation of Mary and Joseph should be greatly enhanced. These were simply devout people trusting God setting out on the journey of a lifetime.

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