“He (Joseph) traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him his fiancee, Mary, who was obviously pregnant by this time. While they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, Because there was no room for them in the village inn.” Luke 2:4-6
The young couple had made their plans. Mary was now engaged to a young man in her village, with the blessing of her father. Joseph had had his eye on her, asked for her father’s blessing to marry, and was in the traditional practice of preparing their future home attached to his father’s house. It would normally take a year to get everything ready for their new family to begin their life together.
That’s when everything in their happy, traditional little world “blew up.” Joseph had been working on their future home, Mary had gone to her beloved cousin Elizabeth’s home for six months of “women time.” But when she had returned, it was obvious that she was pregnant…with no reasonable explanation. Their dreams crumbled. He was planning to end their marriage promise…she was now viewed as a shameful woman. To make matters worse, the Roman military was forcing all citizens to go to their family’s birthplace and pay taxes to the government that had devastated their nation, and stolen their freedom.
Their sweet, traditional love story, and their lives, had literally fallen apart.
But God was right in the middle of their turmoil and heartache. It was His Plan that was behind all of this upheaval. And His Plans are always Perfect, even though we humans usually miss that part.
After God’s Messenger explained to Joseph the Plan God was orchestrating, the young couple headed to Joseph’s family’s origins, Bethlehem. In the chaos of Rome’s occupation and very unhappy people forced to give Rome their sorely lacking tax money, they could find nowhere to stay. They ended up in a cave shelter for animals. Mary was in hard labor with the birth of this Baby, Who was not even their own….He was God’s. No Mom or Aunties with her at this “first.” Having watched her cousin Elizabeth give birth to her “miracle baby” (John) months earlier, Mary at least had that experience to draw from.
When God is “Creating” new realities on this earth, our human minds and perspectives usually see it as “disrupting”, “chaotic”, “upsetting”, . . . it makes us want to scream, “God! Where are You?! This can’t be right!” That’s when we have to cling to Him more tightly, look in His Eyes with more focus than ever, and hold onto all the Truth we know of Him with a steel grasp…no matter how out-of-control our personal world becomes. His Ways are so far beyond our human understanding that we just have to keep walking forward, holding onto Him as tightly as we possibly can.
And then, in the darkness, will be those moments when Light dawns . . . we glimpse what He has been preparing. . . and a quiet, “Oh…that’s why…” will escape from our hearts.
The newly-wed new parents in Bethlehem may not have had “The Moment” while on this turbulent, dangerous earth. But it’s the “Well done…good, faithful servants,” from the Father’s lips to our ears, that matters in the End.