Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Born in Bethlehem?

Tradition always shows Joseph walking, don't know why for sure.
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
Digital Painting, Corel Painter

An Old Testament prophecy was written that the Ruler of Israel comes from Bethlehem:
Micah 5:2
2 "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
Though you are little among the thousands of Judah,
Yet out of you shall come forth to Me
The One to be Ruler in Israel,

Whose goings forth are from of old,
From everlasting."

But, Mary and Joseph lived in Nazareth, about 80 miles from Bethlehem.
Luke 1:26-27
26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David.

Here's how God worked it out:
Luke 2:1-5
1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
Census and taxes!  God used the government to bring about His plan.  This proves that nothing is impossible for God and He can use anything to bring about His will.  By this time it may have been a relief for Mary and Joseph to leave Nazareth.  I'm sure they both received a lot of advice and who knows what happened in the local gossip mill.  Getting away was a good thing in many ways.  However, the trip was very difficult.  Mary was almost ready to deliver Jesus.  

I remember how it feels when I step out in faith, and go where the Lord leads me- like a Nursing Home.  I am overwhelmed by the Holy Spirit's presence and joy.  Mary wasn't carrying a normal baby.  He is the Son of God, she must have been blessed for her service and His presence within her.  Joseph was also blessed.  I don't know if the road was easier because of her assignment. I hope so.

Usually women are the talkers, but I suspect Joseph finally got his chance to think this all through.  Maybe he said something like, "We're going to have the Son of God!  No, wait.  Mary's going to have the Son of God.  My Mary, God chose my Mary.  I knew she was special.  I knew she would stay faithful.  I'm going to be a Dad!  But I'm not worthy, why would God?  I'll teach Him everything I can!  But what could I possibly teach the Son of God?" 

I imagine Mary giggling and saying something like, "Oh Joseph, you'll be a fine Father.  Just remember this baby is a miracle.  God has a plan for us as parents.  He will guide us."

Or maybe they just travelled rejoicing in their hearts to have this awesome role in God's  plan.  Perhaps they prayed, no doubt the angels were nearby.  The Savior was coming as a baby.  No doubt they were exhausted by the trip.

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