Day 1: Love’s Bumpy Road
Scripture: Luke 2:1-5
“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a]Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 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. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.”
It’s almost here! Just two more days and, BOOM, Christmas!!! Could that have been how Mary felt as she probably traveled on the back of a Donkey all the way to Bethlehem? Maybe she was saying to herself, “Just a few more days Mary, just a few more days”. By this time Mary was ready to have a baby. She was tired and more than likely very uncomfortable as she traveled to Bethlehem. The back of a donkey is a bumpy ride, and the dirt roads she traveled down were full of potholes and rocks. She probably couldn’t wait for the warmth of the Inn and to be able to rest and put her feet up. She was so close to the finish line! Jesus would be there soon!
What would cause a young woman to be willing to take such a long, difficult and bumpy journey? She could have said, “No way Joseph! You go to Bethlehem.” The thing that kept Mary on the long and bumpy road was love. Not simply her love for Joseph or even for the baby who was arriving soon, no, it was Mary’s love of God that kept her going. It was the same love that led her to say yes to the Angel when he told her of God’s plan to send His Son. It was a love that was full of trust and belief. Trust that God’s plan was greater than her fear, and the belief that God could use her and a little child to change the world.
Sometimes, we have a hard time believing what we cannot see. If you were told that the person who was writing this devotion was wearing a rainbow sparkly monkey on her head, you’d probably think “No way! I’ll believe it when I see it” and you’d be right. But with God, sometimes we must recognize that He has something so miraculous, so wonderful, so amazingly life changing to do in our lives that it is beyond seeing with our eyes, it’s something that we must know in our hearts…and that friends, is called faith. It is that butterfly feeling we get in our tummies when we know that God wants us to do something, to help someone, or to rest in His presence. It is the peace we feel when we read God’s word, and the joy we feel at Christmas surrounded by celebrations centered around Jesus Christ our Lord. But first, like Mary, we have to say yes to God. We must be willing to go down some hard and sometimes bumpy roads, knowing that when God directs our paths, beautiful and unexpected things await us on our journey…unexpected things like a King born in a stable.
Prayer: Jesus help me to believe beyond what my eyes can see; to trust in your plan and to have faith that even when the road is bumpy, your love travels with me. Amen
Activity: Talk together in your family about a time when you felt God’s presence very near in your life. Did it bring you comfort in a time of trouble or boldness in a time of fear? How did you know that it was God?
Challenge: Your challenge today is to slow down amidst the business of Christmas and focus on the Nativity. How do you think that Mary and Joseph felt as they journeyed to Bethlehem? Were they scared, excited or maybe even annoyed that they had to be away from home at when Mary was so close to her due date? Is there someone in your family who will be away from home for Christmas? Say a prayer for them that they might feel God’s presence very near, even when they’re far away from home.