I have celebrated almost 34 Christmas seasons, and yet there is one aspect of the story of Jesus’ birth that I have never really considered. How can that be? Do you know the story? Read Mathew chapter 1-2 HERE! As you may recall, Joseph and Mary leave their home to go to Bethlehem to pay their taxes and register in the census. Meanwhile, King Herod was looking for the foretold King of the Jews. He did not want his throne overtaken by this young king, who for over 400 years was prophesied to come! (Isaiah 7:14) Tragically , after learning from the Magi (wise men) that they were searching for this king who had just been born, King Herod orders all male babies age 2 and under to be killed. How’s that for picking on someone your own size? Tiny baby Jesus posed a BIG threat, and King Herod was scared.
Meanwhile, Mary gave birth in a dirty dusty animal filled stable to the King of the Jews, and the Savior of the world! An angel warns Joseph, about King Herod’s plan, and tells him to take Mary and baby Jesus to Egypt so they would be safe! Can you imagine that?
One day, you are very pregnant and traveling (a lot harder in those days) to another city. You are most likely pretty uncomfortable and leave home knowing that it is possible that you may give birth on the trip in an unplanned and unknown location, without the security of your local family and friends around you. Also, this is your first baby, so it’s not like anything about pregnancy and giving birth is known to you on an experiential level. The next thing you know is that you are in crazy pain as your body transitions from pregnancy to labor, and you don’t even have a private room somewhere to go. Every place to stay is booked, and the best you can do is a barn! Can you imagine?
Then after giving birth, which really REALLY hurts by the way and is a bit scary the first time, all these people come searching for your baby, as angels told them to! Then the Magi come with gifts, and then your husband gets a dream about Herod’s plan and tells you that you can’t return home, you have to take the very little amount of items you could carry on your trip and flee the country.
Did you catch what I never did until now? Mary and Joseph left home, pregnant, and expected to return back to home. Their home was what they had known, their friends and family, their culture and way of life, their security, their own bed, their own things, some of which were no doubt special to them. They didn’t leave thinking they wouldn’t return. Perhaps they left behind the bassinet Joseph had built for the coming baby, and the clothes Mary might have made for him.
I think it’s always been easy for me to overlook how incredibly difficult that had to have been. Then the fear of having the baby pretty much alone, then the fear of people coming to kill your baby, and having to leave everything known for the unknown. Mary, in my opinion, had every right to yell at God, “I didn’t sign up for this! I wanted my mom to help me give birth as I had always dreamed she would! This stable stinks, BAD! I wasted so much time preparing for baby Jesus, and now I get to use and enjoy none of it! I just want to be “home!” God, are you sure you are in control? This STINKS! I’m scared, I’m tired, this is all new to me, and now I am alone in a foreign land, newly married. I want to go “HOME!”
I think that is exactly where my thoughts would have been a lot of the time. The miracle of birthing a baby is like no other, but I’m not so sure Mary dreamed that this is how it would happen. As I look back, it makes sense why God chose that path for them. Jesus broke the mold all the time! In the moment of, I think it would have been a lot harder. I love Jesus, but I am not a super human. I am no where near perfect, and constantly make mistakes! There was only one unflawed super human, and that was Jesus.
You see, it is hard to see the whole picture when you are in the middle of it, and every harder to understand! Mary and Joseph were human too, flawed, and a lot had happened in the last 8+ months! Their entire mental world had to shift, their dreams, their expectations, their desires. Life was completely scrambled now, and they were left to follow God’s leading, and the angels whom spoke to them on his behalf.
When you really stop and consider the full picture, that situation probably felt a bit like a nightmare. I am not Mary, but I can certainly relate to the ways them must have felt. Our mental world started shifting as God changed and softened our hearts in practically following him into this journey. Our dreams and desires have changed from what they were 18 months ago. Our life feels quite a bit scrambled, and we are learning daily and actively how living God’s word, the Bible, is!
This journey actively started about 8 months ago. God had been preparing our hearts in the previous months leading up to our journey. And when he placed this desire in us, it was exciting, scary, unknown, and against the cultural grain. I imagine it was similar to how the disciples felt when Jesus called them from their careers, and they left everything to follow him. People must have thought they were crazy too! Or when Noah built the ark! Or how about when God told Gideon to fight with a mere 300 men using candles and jars as weapons! I can recount hundreds of stories in God’s word that don’t make human sense! Or how about, “Hey, Moses, go back to Egypt, you know, where they want to kill you, and throw a stick down so it turns into a snake, and tell Pharaoh to let my people go. Oh, and by the way, he’s going to say no.”
I don’t understand very much, really. What I do understand is that God has a plan. His plan is perfect, and I am a part of his plan. That he will use me as I look to him as my strength. It really does matter where I place my focus, constantly. This has thus far been a wild ride. Right now, it feels very hard to understand and see the big picture, but through the tears, I feel joy. I am following God’s plan for my life, and though I don’t know how he will provide and work out his plan for my family, He will do it! He says so! For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you. Jeremiah 29:11 I have learned in my 34 years that his word is true and trustworthy. We were not made for this Earth, but God loved us so much that he sent his one and only son, that whoever believes in him will have eternal life. John 3:16 This son was JESUS, and though his name is greatly hated in the world today, it is the ONLY name that holds POWER!
If this is confusing or if you’d like to understand more about who Jesus is, would you please reach out to us? Darren and I would love to introduce you! Without him, the weight of our situation would crush us, but through him we find peace and joy! CHRISTmas is about Jesus Christ! There is a reason to celebrate! Would you please join us in thanking God for his gift of sending Jesus to us, as well as pray that our hearts and minds would stay focused on He who came as a little baby, as he works out his design and plan for our lives? And we pray that he grows you in mighty ways as you know him more and seek Him with all your heart in the coming year! Please continue to pray for us as we have a lot of decisions to make, and needs to be met! If you know of a place we can store our tiny houses on wheels for this winter and possibly our RV, please let us know ASAP! We are so grateful for every encouraging word that comes our way!
There is no place like home, it’s true, but we aren’t home yet! Home is neither where I am with my family, nor a house/building that I call home. Home is when I am one day with Jesus, my Lord and Savior! Until that time comes, however, I will be very excited when we can legally live in our Tinies! Praying that is sooner than later! Blessings on you as you celebrate the birth of Jesus this year! XOX
Please leave us comments below! It’s as exciting as getting snail mail to us, and we love to hear from YOU!
Melody is a full time mother, CEO of the Mike household, NASM certified Personal Trainer, Group Fitness Instructor, Beach Body Coach, Norwex Representative, Singer/Songwriter, Organizer, Jesus Lover, Wife, and well, you get the idea, a woman of many hats. Adventurous and creative, she loves spending time outdoors and encouraging others to be Lean, Clean, & Green.