It is just little more than a week before Mary is to give birth. She has prepared all the necessities for the trip and Joseph has procured a donkey so that Mary might ride. After the food and other material things they would need are strapped to the donkey’s back, they move on their way.
Several families are going to Bethlehem, so there is some chatter among them. A few are loudly upset about having to go that distance. Some are looking forward to seeing relatives there. Mary and Joseph quietly ponder the birth that is imminent.
It is a four-day trip on foot. They would rest each evening; share a sparse meal and rest. Joseph was concerned about Mary. The trip was not easy and she was most certainly in much discomfort. However, not a word of complaint left her lips. In fact, her peaceful smile warmed his heart.
In this way, they passed three days. On the fourth day, they entered Bethlehem. They stopped to view Bethlehem; the place indicated by the scriptures that the Messiah would be born. Mary praised God for bringing them safely here.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Travel can be very enjoyable. But there are those times when everything seems to go wrong. Planes are late or overbooked. You are asked to give up your place on the plane for other “more important” passengers. That is not said, of course, but… Your luggage is in Chicago and you are in Dallas Texas. It is close to midnight and the people who were to pick you up left a number where you can reach them when you get in.
You in the meantime, are in a heated or air-conditioned building, with coffee or ice cream machines. You do not need to sit on the ground since there are comfortable seats. Compare this to the trip made by the couple chosen by God to be the most important on earth!
Sometimes it is hard to put things in perspective. I think this happens more frequently at holiday times. When we are safe and warm and just waiting for “rescue” from annoying things, we sometimes make the insect a dragon! Now is especially the time to practice patience, at home, with friends, while shopping or traveling. It isn’t easy! But if you close your eyes for a second and think of those two people with a THIRD on the way, you may be able to put things in perspective. Say “Merry Christmas” whenever you are stressed. It helps keep things in perspective at this time of year. Say it to everyone and smile. The King of Kings is about to be born!
Peace and Joy,
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg