[ Christ Born of Mary ] And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 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, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
Poor Mary. Heavy with child, forced to travel from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea. On the back of a donkey. All because Caesar wanted all the citizens of Israel to be registered in some sort of census so that he could collect taxes from them.
That journey must have taken several days, passing through Samaria to reach Bethlehem, which lays south of Jerusalem. The map in the back of my Bible shows the terrain along that journey to be somewhat mountainous. What were the roads like? Well traveled dirt paths, no doubt, yet rough going for a very pregnant woman soon to give birth.
I imagine the jostling Mary endured on the back of that donkey, even as sure-footed as it must have been, could quite well have started her labor early. By the time she and Joseph reached Bethlehem, she had to have been in extreme pain and discomfort.
You ladies who have borne children are no doubt wincing at the thought and are in full empathy. But compare the conditions surrounding you as your child came into the world to that night in Bethlehem two-thousand-and-sixteen years ago. No doctor, not even a midwife. No sanitary delivery room. Just Joseph. How terrified they must have been!
Yet that precious Baby was safely delivered . . . and survived. He lived. And died. And He lives again!
Joy to the World!