“Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.” Luke 2:4-5
As the Scripture states, Joseph and Mary were set to make a journey. In biblical times, highways were little more than unpaved, sometimes impassable paths that wound around between villages. The paths were ancient routes and were known to harbor robbers and other less-than-desirable characters that preyed on those who were traveling. Travelers put their lives at risk.
Because Joseph was a descendant from the House of David, he and Mary set out for Bethlehem to be counted in the census.
As you know, Mary was pregnant, and she was not far from her time to deliver her baby. Being pregnant in those times, coupled with journeying on the back of a donkey, was not easy, even for the strongest of women. Joseph was doubly concerned for their safety.
But Joseph and Mary trusted God. They prayed to Him to bless them with safety and guidance. And guide them He did, without incident, to the little stable where they would lodge.
As a senior at Wingate in the fall of 1985, I was a member of a group studying in London. One of the advantages of living in London was being able to get out and explore the city and learn my way around. I mastered the “Underground,” found the best places to eat and to shop, and became accustomed to the hustle and bustle. To me, traveling about London was no problem. I felt safe. I knew the language. London was “home.”
One day our group traveled to Milan and Venice, Italy. We had a great time exploring these two ancient cities and taking in the sights, sounds and scents. On our return to London, we boarded the plane, and I settled into my seat. Just as the captain had completed his announcements, members of the Italian Army boarded the plane. With their weapons over their shoulders, they searched the plane, walking up and down the aisles. I was frozen with fear. What was this all about? Who or what were they searching for? Was there a bomb hidden on board?
All I knew was that I wanted to be back in London, safe in my flat. I remember my reaction vividly. I shut my eyes and prayed to God that He would give us a safe journey and guide us home. This is what I had always done when I was getting ready to travel.
The military completed their search without incident and soon we were taxiing down the runway. Our flight was safe, and by night’s end I was at “home” in London. I was grateful for safe passage, and I noted this in my nightly prayers.
No doubt, after their safe arrival in Bethlehem, settled into a makeshift inn, Joseph and Mary thanked God for their safe travel.
Jeff Bennett has been at FBC since being added to the Cradle Roll shortly after his birth. Jeff is the son of Clara Bennett and the late Horace Bennett.