advent devotional day 7, the journey

He went there to register with Mary, 
who was pledged to be married to him 
and was expecting a child. 

Raise your hand if you’ve refused to even comb your hair when tired  (!!!)
I know we are not all mothers, yet, but it is time to bring out some realness.  The realness of the journey the Lord puts us on, beginning with acknowledging those final days for Mary; those precious last moments where she was with child.

Luke tells us, according to the NIV, that Mary was “expecting” a child.
If you read the KJV you are laughing because, there he tells us she was great with child.
Full sail.  Ready to pop.  The turkey is done!

Mary was the woman of all women.  How else can you describe a woman that gets on a donkey and rides to another city, while pregnant.  No one knows for sure how far along she was when they arrived in Bethlehem, but we can figure she wasn’t on the road long enough for a major change to take place.

According to scholars: (and for the sake of length, passing on some details here)
Nazareth to Bethlehem = roughly 90 miles.
Walking/Riding = 4-5 Days of travel, give or take for various stops.

So it is safe to conclude that Mary left Nazareth in pretty much the same physical condition she arrived in Bethlehem in.  And the inspired word is she was great with child.  

If you are a mother, can you remember those last days of your pregnancy, and how you felt?  Could you imagine heading to the DMV to renew your driver’s license while you carried the Savior of the world in your womb?  I try to parallel the experiences because, just as we have things to do while pregnant, so did Mary.  If you’ve never been pregnant, maybe you’ve been physically sick, or full of mental anguish; debilitated in some way.  We still have responsibilities and must adhere to who we are in our home, despite how uncomfortable and exhausted we are.  Often times we pull ourselves from certain engagements due to our discomfort.  Mary traveled 90 miles to uphold what was now her familial duty, and I am once again just floored by the amount of faith that must have required.

As mentioned before, it was not custom to just travel through the land of Samaria.  They likely took the long way along the Jordan and prayed endlessly, I imagine.  They likely feared their reception, for they had heard from God but not everyone else had.  They likely struggled to understand why He couldn’t ease the journey for them.

And isn’t that what we do now; kinda secretly wish for an easy journey?
Ladies, if there is one thing I have learned nearly completely in my walk of faith it is that the journey of a Godly woman is never easy.  Now I am not going to try to speak for all Christian women, but there must certainly be days in all of our lives where we have had just about so much that it makes us look up and say “was that really necessary??”

I can almost feel the pat on my heart as the Spirit says “yes, it is.”  

Our entire walk is a journey.

Whether we were born into a God-fearing family or we found Him as we crawled out of a pit; we are on a journey from day 1.  He created us, He lost us, and like a Good Shepherd He seeks us out, one by one. 

Our time of coming to terms with each detail can become a bit exhausting.  We get tired, tasks seem daunting, patience feels out of reach, and our hearts become worn out.  It is at this point where we are our strongest, because by being so weak and weary, our God carries us.

Mary rode a donkey in her third trimester;  
whatever the day dishes us, we can handle it, girls!

What does your journey look like right now? 

Are you on a mountain top, seeing the fruits of your labor?

Are you in a valley, enjoying the view of your dreams to come?

Are you in the desert, feeling as if God is nowhere to be found? 

Again, greet your obstacles with joy, but mark these moments as milestones or checkpoints along your journey.  Can you pull anything from your day that shows you have grown?  Are some moments seeming to repeat, almost reminding you of work that still needs to be done?  Take inventory of any struggle moments today, and count them all as joy.  

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  

2 Corinthians 4:8 NIV

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