And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with Child. (Luke 2:4-5)
It could not have been an easy trip. Joseph needed to get to Bethlehem for legal reasons, and he brought Mary with him on the verge of delivery. In spite of the Christmas cards, there's a good chance they both walked. The Bible says nothing about a donkey. And the trip was at least 70 miles.
Why not leave Mary home? After all, surely she would be more comfortable with her female relatives to care for her, and a proper midwife on call. We don't know. Perhaps they remembered the prophecy that Bethlehem would be Jesus' birthplace. Perhaps Joseph just didn't want to leave his wife alone in the hands of gossips.
And then the birth itself—not in an inn, as there was no room for them there. Labor and delivery for a first-time mother—could Joseph find anyone to help? Who knows? An adorable baby, at long last. A manger, to keep Him off the floor so no one could step on Him and the rats wouldn't bite Him. The birth of the Son of God.
This wasn't what Mary and Joseph wanted. It wasn't what they planned. But it was what God chose.
This is how much God loves us, that He sent His only Son into the world under such circumstances. This is how much Jesus our Savior loves us. Our troubles, our suffering, our poverty, our griefs—He shared them all from the beginning, every day of His life. He came on purpose to be the "Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" that the prophet foretold (Isaiah 53:3). He took them to the cross.
And then He rose from the dead, triumphant over all of this—over evil, over sin, over death, over the power of the devil. He did it for you and for me, because He loves us. As He shared our suffering, so now we share in His joy and everlasting life. Jesus came to be Immanuel, God-with-us forever.
THE PRAYER: Lord, thank You for loving us so much. Draw me closer to You. Amen.
* What was your own birth like, if you know?
* How can you tell when someone really loves you?
* What does it mean to you, to be close to Jesus?
Advent Devotions were written by Dr. Kari Vo.
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