The bags are packed and the suitcases are loaded into the car. Tickets? Check! Passport? Check! You get in, start the engine, and as you pull away and drive down the road the excitement builds – the holiday has begun! As long as you get there on time, it doesn’t matter how long the journey takes, its all part of the adventure.
Or maybe your journey isn’t so pleasant. Even a short five minute trip across the city can feel like an eternity when the reason for it or the destination is one of sorrow, hurt or pain.
Or what about those trips that just seem to come at the wrong time. The ones of inconvenience, the journey you could really do without. For most of us that is usually things like having to go and pick up our son or daughter who has missed their last bus home, or hurriedly rushing to the shop to pick up some last minute supplies for the evenings meal. We’ve all said it, “I could do without this tonight”.
For Mary, her journey of inconvenience came in her last days of pregnancy – a 70 mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Being 9 months pregnant, the last thing she wanted to do was to leave home, and it wasn’t even as though she could sit comfortably in the car as Joseph drove for an hour or so up the motorway. For Mary and Joseph, this journey would of been by foot, and likely took several days. I imagine there were times along this road that Mary and Joseph laughed and joked, and made the best they could out of the trip, just like any other family would today. But just like any other family road trip, I imagine there were times when stress levels were high. In their tiredness I bet there were times when they felt like stopping and giving up or even turning back. I can just imagine there being times when Mary started to wonder if Joseph really knew the way? Why doesn’t he just stop and ask someone for directions?
Our life’s journey is full of ups, where we smile, laugh, joke, and enjoy the ride, but its also full of downs, those moments that leave us feeling lost or unable to carry on, but be encouraged today by that road from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The journey Mary and Joseph took was all part of Gods plan, and so too is the journey you’re on today. Whether you’re in an ‘up’ or a ‘down’ at the moment, just keep going, keep moving, and keep your eyes fixed on the destination. You’re in His hands.