Can you imagine being either Mary or Joseph in those days before the first Christmas over two thousand years ago? Now we're not talking about this day based upon our date for the celebration of Jesus' birth, for we know that Jesus wasn't born in December. But just consider a mere four days before His birth and what the couple was going through. After all, despite Mary's advanced pregnancy and the stress that can cause in even good times, Mary and Joseph had to travel by donkey along rough roads in any possible type of weather to go the town of Joseph's birth for census taking and tax registration.
But on this particular day of their preparation for the long and arduous journey there were many things they had to pay attention to. Perhaps they were in the last stage of preparing for the arduous journey or maybe they were already on their way. Regardless, it was a tough time and we all know that it didn't get any easier right up to, and including, the birth. The roads were rough, robbers roamed the rural roadways and weather was frequently changing with only the shelter they brought with them. And Mary, of course, being at approximate full term was uncomfortable. What if she went into labor on a night in the wilderness with nary a creature comfort to give her comfort. And Joseph never experienced such a situation before nor was he completely knowledgeable of Mary’s needs at the time. Yet the labored on and, as we know, they made it and the precious baby who was Jesus came into this world.
Or what about the Wise Men or the Shepherds? How about the townspeople seeing them on the road to Bethlehem? Were they aware of the miracle coming and what it would mean to the world? Did they have any idea really what would transpire in such a period of time where these two unknown people would become central characters in the play of life?
As we focus on Christmas this year, let us take time to remember just how difficult it was for this couple and all the others involved, knowingly or not, in this story for the ages. Remember, Joseph and Mary could have turned down the mission assigned to them by God, yet they didn't, and because of that the Greatest Story Ever Told begins with them.
And what about today and in the future? What if it were today? What would the situation be like and how would people react? And then there is the preparation for his return? Will we be ready to accept the King of Kings as our ruler of the world? It's what is expected of us and it is way past time to prepare. But all of these questions should be answered by each of us at this time of year when we should be focused on His coming (both as a baby and His return). God wants to put the love of Jesus to work for all of us, yet with free will we must make the choice, choosing Him or His evil combatant who is always nearby trying to snare souls. So, what will we do? Will we make the choice of eternal life by believing by faith in Christ? Or will we opt for the earthly state of living and, absent a grand awakening, lose out on the promise that was given us by the Christ by His sacrifice that ended Him human existence? It’s our choice and in addition to our offer to attain freedom from sin and eternal life by accepting Jesus as our Savior, we need to thank Mary and Joseph for the part they unselfishly played for God to make His story so real to all of us. It is a story for the ages.