How committed would you be based on a word? If you were visited by an angel of God, how committed would you be to that message years after the visitation? Would “life” take over and interfere with your commitment? Would you begin to question whether what you heard was true? Do you think you would allow it to become just a “story”?
Recently, I was thinking about the Christmas season inclusive of the nativity event. My thoughts began with the account of the birth of Jesus and the fact that they had no better accommodations than a manger. But quickly, something sparked my interest. How long and involved was the journey for Mary and Joseph? What must it have been like for such a young couple?
After considering this in more detail, I discovered some interesting information. Mary believed the word from the angel and immediately acted upon it. First, she went to her cousin’s home to see what God had done for her. It is estimated the trip covered 80 to 100 miles. During that time, it meant walking or riding with a caravan. If she walked, it meant a 4 to 5-day journey. After her time with Elizabeth, she had to make a return trip with her obviously pregnant figure. That’s upwards to 200 miles over 10 days! Many people today have difficulty walking 1 mile.
A few months later, Mary had to travel to Bethlehem late in her pregnancy. Another long journey covering approximately 90 miles in the winter. No paved roads existed so they had to travel up and down hills full of potential danger from wild animals and bandits. I can imagine Joseph walking with his eyes wide open in search of any signs of danger while Mary waddled and believed God that she could make it before the baby came.
Sometime after the Jesus’ birth, the family traveled to Egypt from Bethlehem, which was 40 miles or more. Finally, at the appointed time, they traveled back to Nazareth, which is a minimum of 106 miles. In total, Mary and Joseph traveled a minimum of 436 miles based on a word from the angel of God. They so intently believed the message they received was true that they acted upon their faith. The family did not concern themselves with what they left behind nor the uncertainty they may have felt about the future. They acted upon their faith. Neither Mary nor Joseph procrastinated but instead, they received the word and walked towards the expected end.
The conditions Mary and Joseph lived through were harsher than most people today will ever experience yet they still trusted God and answered His call. They prepared the best way they knew and trusted God to do the rest. During this Christmas season, I believe He is asking us to do the same. Trust Him and go as far as He asks us to go. Like He did for Mary and Joseph, He will supply our need according to His riches in glory. He will protect us through the journey such that no harm befalls the righteous.
When you celebrate Christmas this season, take time to remember the rest of the story and allow it to supercharge your faith such that you would go to the ends of the Earth based on a word from God.