Do you travel much? Have you had to travel in less than perfect circumstances? Have you traveled while being sick, under duress, or more than eight months pregnant? If you traveled under those circumstances, how difficult was that trip?
Many of us have traveled when not feeling well. We may have traveled with nothing more than a cold. We may have traveled feeling far worse. Some may have traveled while pregnant, and the further along you were the more difficult it likely was to travel.
I can remember one short trip when I did not feel well. It was less than thirty minutes from our house to the hospital. I felt so bad I could barely stumble my way to the vehicle with my wife and father-in-law helping me. As it turned out, I had a gall stone stuck in the tube between my gall bladder and kidney. Excruciating pain had me doubled over and nauseous. That short trip was one of the worst that I have ever experienced.
So, I cannot imagine being nearly nine months pregnant and having to travel more than 70 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Joseph, being a faithful husband likely secured a ride for Mary. Traditionally, Mary is portrayed as riding on a donkey. Yet, there is no indication in Scripture that she did. What we do know from history is they likely traveled in a caravan for safety reasons. We do know from indicators in Scripture that Joseph was not a rich man, which may have hindered his ability to own a donkey or a cart.
What we also know from Scripture is that Joseph and Mary were obedient to the commands of Caesar. They traveled to obey the directive to conduct a census. They followed the Jewish custom of being accounted for in the family hometown. Mary, specifically, was obedient to travel with her husband, or husband to be. Scripture does not tell us if they were married before or after she gave birth.
I pray we all obey the laws of the land. I pray we obey the commands of God. I pray each one of us digs deeper into Scripture to better understand the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. Be an obedient person. Obey the laws. Obey God. Read God’s Word. Study God’s Word. Know the true story.
Luke 2:4-5 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.