We are each designed for a unique and divine purpose. Live yours!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

From Nazareth to Bethlehem

Lately so many friends and family members have lost loved ones, are dealing with illness, distress, anxiety, and a host of issues that challenge their fortitude, energy, strength and, perhaps, even their faith.

Every day on the news we hear of awful people doing awful, unthinkable things. Natural (and manmade) disasters seem to be occurring in record numbers. The world just seems to have gone crazy some days, and I wonder what in the world will ever become of us all!

Sometimes I feel weighed down and overwhelmed. It can be hard to make sense out of it all. This evening God put on my heart to think of Mary and Joseph, and the long, dangerous, treacherous journey they made--about 93 miles--from Nazareth to Bethlehem. One account tells us:

. . .the journey would have taken Joseph and Mary at least four to five days. We wonder where they stayed each night, where and with whom they camped along the way. It would have been a wearying journey for anyone, but especially for a pregnant woman soon to give birth. The last leg of the eastern route would have been the hardest of all. Jericho is the lowest city on the globe, and Jerusalem and Bethlehem are situated right in the top of the hills. From Jericho’s desert to Bethlehem is an uphill hike of 3,500 feet. How exhausted Mary must have been! How anxious Joseph must have been to find a comfortable room at the inn! Desperate to find adequate shelter, they may have resorted at last to a limestone cave used for a stable.
The burdens of this world can seem so big and we can feel as if we just can't make it through another day. Our prayers may seem futile and our faith may be tested.

Mary and Joseph did not lose hope! Yes, God's divine protection kept them safe and brought them to the exact place He had planned for the Christ child to be born. But we are also protected! God loves us and cares for and about us just as He did Mary and Joseph and the baby they were about to have.

“When famine or plague comes to the land, or blight or mildew, locusts or grasshoppers, or when an enemy besieges them in any of their cities, whatever disaster or disease may come, and when a prayer or plea is made by anyone among your people Israel—being aware of the afflictions of their own hearts, and spreading out their hands toward this temple—then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Forgive and act; deal with everyone according to all they do, since you know their hearts (for you alone know every human heart," (1 Kings 8:37-39 NIV)

Blessings on your journey,

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