Monday, December 24, 2012
Christmas Eve...........the day before the birth of the Christ child. Joseph and his very pregnant wife had made an arduous journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in order to comply with the decree issued by Cesear Augustus. Every man was to report to the town of his heritage, with his entire family, in order to be counted in a census and taxes exacted.
Somewhat arcane when considered in light of today's census. Men and women trained by the Federal Government go from house to house to count and list the members of the household. Some even skip the 'visit' by filing their census forms via the Postal Service.
Can you imagine a woman only days from delivery of her first child being forced to either walk or ride a donkey for some 65-80 miles, depending on the report you get regarding mileage from Nazareth to Bethlehem? Undoubtedly, she was in labor for at least the end portion of the journey. I think it highly doubtful that she gave birth the next evening without having been at least in the early stages of labor.
She was alone, except for Joseph. She had no experience giving birth. She did not have her mother, or even her mother-in-law. There was no midwife. Mary was alone, in pain, in a less than desirable location for giving birth, no sanitary precautions whatsoever. An inexperienced husband was the only human, other than Mary, in attendance. She had no clothing for the newborn, only rags ripped into strips to wrap the infant in.
Yet, she faced her circumstances and met their visitors with joy in her heart. As they came and went, she held closely their words and actions. They would remain in her heart until the day she watched with pain far greater than birthing pains as her son's life was taken from him; as he was tortured and ridiculed, misunderstood for who he was, why he came and why he now hung on that cross, his life's blood flowing from him. She then realized his life was not TAKEN, but GIVEN.......freely given because he loved mankind more than they would ever be able to comprehend in this life.
Christmas Eve...........very soon, the world would be forever changed as the King of Glory left his heavenly throne to dwell in the body of that precious baby Jesus. Mankind's only hope lay in that manger, wrapped in strips of rags and totally adored by his dear Mother and the man who chose to be his Father when walking away would have been the easy choice.
Choice.............now there's a word for today. Come back on Christmas Day to consider C-H-O-I-C-E.......
At that time the Roman emperor,
Augustus, decreed that a census
should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.
(This was the first census taken
when Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
All returned to their own ancestral towns
to register for this census.
And because Joseph was a
descendant of King David,
he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea,
David’s ancient home.
He traveled there from the
village of Nazareth in Galilee.
He took with him Mary, his fiancée,
who was now obviously pregnant.
Luke 2: 1-5 (NLT)