Luke 2:1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. 2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
I am a detail person. Sometimes it’s a real problem. I want a plan, I want to know every detail ahead of time so I can have a Plan B ready. But most of all I want to get from A to B with no surprises or complications…please. This record of Mary’s journey is fraught with them. It’s enough to cause me stress on her behalf.
A long journey by foot – 80 miles
Preparation for the journey – clothing, food
The taxes themselves AND the cost to get there to pay them
High/Low temps in that season – 58/44º F
A heavily pregnant woman
Bouncing on a donkey
Nightly rest stops
Google says today that journey would take 34 hours by foot. That’s 2.35 miles per hour. I just can’t see that happening for that journey. That journey took days! There’s a stark reality in that list of hardship that even the angel’s message couldn’t change. I don’t imagine for a moment that Mary forgot that message. She heard and she believed but that alone wasn’t what made her journey an act of holiness. Here’s the most important fact about Mary’s Part in that walk to Bethlehem…she went.