Sometimes we just end up where God wants us to be through a set of circumstances that we have no control over. So it was with Joseph and Mary. Both descendants in the line of David, they traveled to Bethlehem to register for a census, a requirement of a government not much liked at the time by the Israelites.
It was surely a difficult journey of at least three days. Perhaps Mary—ready to deliver—considered the prophesy in Micah that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, but I’m doubting it. No one knows, but I’m guessing she was mainly focused on the trauma and inconvenience of it all. Even a godly woman like Mary had to have had her moments of weariness and frustration. And, a pregnant woman about to have a baby is not going to look on such a trip with enthusiasm.
It’s hard—maybe even impossible—to see a glorious future in our days of suffering. We’re far more apt to question God’s plan than to rest in the hope of a bright future, especially if the future appears anything but bright. So, Joseph and Mary trudged on toward Bethlehem to do what they had to do, register in the town of their ancestry. They also trudged on to fulfill a plan that had been laid down before the foundations of the world.
Although Joseph and Mary had been visited by angels, they still lived out most days just like us, occupied with the same duties of making a living and keeping a house, bearing and raising children. One day folds into the next, and it’s hard to see that all those steps were planned and have a purpose bigger than ourselves, but they do.
Certainly, they took heart by remembering the words of the angel, and we must take heart by remembering the words in the Bible, as we step out into journeys that we have little control over.
—the parishioner who doesn’t do anything