The Trip to Bethlehem
Mary and Joseph were to be married but Mary was pregnant with God’s son. Joseph could have walked away from the marriage but he didn’t. He was engaged to Mary which meant in those days that they were already married. What Mary and Joseph didn’t expect was that the government was going to ask them to do something. The ruler of Rome, Caesar Augustus decided that he needed to know just how many people lived in Israel. He sent out a message that said that everyone needed to go to their parents’ family home town. They couldn’t go to their hometown counting office where they lived. For Mary and Joseph this meant they had to go to the birthplace of King David. They both belonged to his family tree although it was in the long-distanced past. This meant they had to go to Bethlehem.
What were they to do? It was a long trip because they didn’t have cars. The wealthy people rode camels and travelled by caravan on donkeys. They were part of a big crowd of people who could have every opportunity. Joseph and Mary were poor so they had to figure out a way to go by themselves.
So Joseph went out and found a donkey and brought it home to Mary. Together they packed up and placed on the donkey enough food and clothing for the long journey. Since Joseph could only find one donkey, he had Mary ride it as she was going to have her baby very soon. He walked the long distance on foot with them stopping to sleep and eat.
When they arrived in Bethlehem, their home place, there was no room available anywhere. Each inn they stopped at sent them away. Finally they got to one innkeeper. Now don’t be mad at the guy. He gave Mary and Joseph a place to stay. It was in a stable which was really a cave. There was straw and the animals were more than pleased to share their space with them.
That night a wonderful thing happened. Jesus came into the world. He was special. The cows and lambs were quiet or softly singing in sheep and cattle song,. But nothing bothered the family. They were together in a warm safe place. They knew that God would take care of them and His Son.