Life’s Journey is not always a smooth ride
Imagine what it would be like two thousand years ago, with no other way to travel except by foot or donkey. Horses were not very popular, as only the very wealthy owned them.
When Mary was nine months pregnant, Caesar Augustus ordered the entire Roman Empire to be registered in a census. To comply with Caesar’s order, Mary and Joseph would have to travel 90 miles across the Judean desert. Imagine hearing this news and knowing your wife is ready to give birth any day! They would be traveling on foot with their donkey, who would be heavily laden with the necessary supplies. It would’ve taken them over a week to travel to Bethlehem. Mary probably would have been able to ride on the donkey at times, in order to rest, but I can’t imagine that being comfortable given her condition. This would not have been a walk in the park, as artists may depict the scene, but rather a grueling trip across intensely treacherous terrain with a woman who was having birth pains!
Traveling across the Judean desert wouldn’t have been the only difficulty Mary and Joseph may have faced on their journey. The Jordan River was known to have lions, wild boar, and bears living along the wooded areas. Bandits, (pirates of the desert) were also very common along the trade routes. The Bible doesn’t say much about their journey to Bethlehem, but when we know the history of that day, the geography, and what a pregnant woman goes through when she is ready to give birth, then we begin to imagine how difficult their travel was.
What we do know for sure is. . . all through Mary and Joseph’s dangerous journey God was with them. His mighty protection covered them, and His grace overshadowed them. Many times we go through difficulties, trials, and circumstances that seem to be impossible. It may even seem like there is no end to the pain we suffer in our lives. But, when we turn to God and ask Him to help us, He does. He never leaves us, or forsakes us, but stays by our side all through the journey. There is always an end to the trial, once we reach the destination God has intended for us.