The birth of Jesus Christ is the cornerstone of Christmas. It was a miraculous event that shows us the hope of salvation, it reveals to us good tidings of great joy, and proclaims peace on earth. The birth of Jesus Christ is the true meaning of Christmas.
As we celebrate the beauty of the birth of Christ, I can not help but think of the journey it took to get there. Mary was with child of the Holy Ghost and Joseph was a “just man” that obeyed the angel of the Lord to continue his engagement to Mary. It was not an easy decision to make and as they both discovered, the journey was not easy either.
In Luke 2, we find a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. Everyone would return to their home city, to participate in this census/tax. As notes in the MacArthur Study Bible say, “Both Joseph and Mary were descendants of David and therefore went to their tribal home in Judea to be registered.”
Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem, a journey that would take them across mountain terrain of more than 70 miles.¹ Mary was “great with child.” It was not a short trip, probably lasting several days, and it was not a smooth trip. I am sure Joseph had to make tough decisions concerning their journey such as: which route to take, where to spend the night, what to pack, etc. Mary had to not only go on the journey herself, whether riding a donkey or by foot, we do not know, but she had to carry the baby too.
Judea was at a higher elevation than Galilee, so they had to go up. Is that the truth of when God calls us up out of our daily routine? Joseph was just a carpenter by trade.² He was not a King, but God chose him to be responsible for the delivery of the King of Kings.
When they arrived in Bethlehem “the house of bread”, there was no room for them. They had to stay with the animals in a stable. Mary gave birth to the greatest gift of all in a humble place. Emmanuel, God with us, was laid in an animal feeding trough.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
I hope you can find room for Jesus in your life this Christmas. You may be in the middle of a difficult journey. The road is bumpy and you feel like you are carrying the load of two. People have no room for you and you have been turned away, rejected, and embarrassed. I would not worry, you are in good company.
¹ MacArthur Study Bible, notes on Luke 2:4. ² John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible, notes on Luke 2:4.