Only a few more gift cards to buy. Only a few days left to get them. But one of the gift cards I need to track down is from a store several miles across town. With a busy week ahead, imagine my exasperation when I realized I had a slow leak in my tire. Sure enough, the small head of a nail was peeking out at me from in between the tire treads. Talk about inconvenient!
Within a couple hours the tire shop had my tire patched. And at no cost to me! Yes, some things are still free! My slight inconvenience paled in comparison to that of some people from long ago…
The government was the cause of their inconvenience. Caesar Augustus had issued a decree that everyone would be taxed. Not only was there a tax to be paid, but everyone had to return to their home town in order to make their payment. No mailboxes in those days. No ifs, ands, or buts, the tax had to be paid in person, period. Major inconvenience for most of the townspeople of Nazareth, but for Joseph, he had the added inconvenience of a pregnant wife. Mary was nearing the end of her pregnancy and would find it difficult to travel the long distance to Bethlehem. Despite their less than desirable situation, Joseph and Mary headed on their way.
I can only imagine how many stops the couple must have made between Nazareth and Bethlehem. Maybe ten stops or more a day? And this journey was not for the faint of heart. Given Mary’s pregnancy, it could easily have been a week’s journey. And think about the mode of transportation. Probably a donkey for Mary, while Joseph led the way on foot. Mary couldn’t have been comfortable! When I compare the rough back of an animal to the plush, heated seats of my car, I have to laugh. And vow never to complain on a long road trip again!
I remember the comfort of my own bed the night before my scheduled C-section. And the confidence I had in the team of doctors at the hospital. Mary didn’t have that luxury. No familiar surroundings greeted her as she went into labor. No sterile environment, or medications to ease her pain. Not even a room in an inn. Just the sounds and smells of common animals, and a feeding trough that would have to double as a bed for their baby. “And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn,” (Luke 2:7; KJV).
It would have been so much more convenient for Mary to stay behind in Nazareth. And being nearly nine months pregnant, no one would have blamed her. No doubt they didn’t welcome the difficulties, but it seems like Mary and Joseph realized there was more to life than seeking personal convenience. Through their obedience, the scriptures were fulfilled, “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting,”(Micah 5:2).
Next time I’m tempted to complain about life’s inconveniences, remembering Mary and Joseph’s trials will prompt me to be thankful instead!
Do you complain when you’re faced with inconveniences? What could you do today to be more thankful?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, Thank You for both the trials and blessings You allow in my life. Thank You for reminding me of the difficulties others faced – and how they choose to be obedient to You. Help me to praise You for Your goodness instead of complaining of any inconveniences. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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