Carl’s eyes are staring straight at me. He knows that I am getting ready to leave and he doesn’t like it one bit. No matter how many times I leave and return, he continues to become extremely upset when I close the screen door behind me and vanish out of sight. Carl has a hard time with unknowns and when he is left alone, he doesn’t know how to handle it.
The unknown can be a bit unnerving for all of us. It seems that when I go to a place that I have never ventured to before, my stomach becomes a little queasy and my palms begin to perspire. There are even times that I have to do battle in my thoughts to push through to keep going.
If my world of making prior reservations and knowing my plans causes me anxiety, I can’t imagine how Joseph and Mary must have felt as they made their way to Bethlehem. A decree from Caesar Augustus had come out that everyone in the world had to return to their home town to be registered. So even though Mary was nine months pregnant, they had to go.
So Joseph and Mary traveled for four or five days towards Bethlehem going from one of the lowest spots, Jericho, up 3500 feet in elevation towards Bethlehem. Mary must have been physically exhausted and I am sure Joseph was concerned for where they would stay once they arrived.
I often wonder if they were lacking faith at this point. Being forced to travel so far at this time in her pregnancy and the multiple unknowns of what would happen once they arrived must have consumed their thoughts. And then to arrive and find no room at an inn. Mary’s labor pains may have started by now and neither of them had any control over the situation.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how they ended up in a limestone cave used as a stable, but that is where they were when the greatest miracle in all of history occurred. There among the smelly manure, filthy animals, and cool night air, our Lord and Savior became flesh.
At this point in time, angels appeared to shepherds who were tending their sheep, glorifying God and telling them of the news of the Savior’s birth. Once the angels left, the shepherds ran with haste to see the baby laying in a manger.
And once they had shared with Mary and Joseph about the angels and what they had told them, the Bible states, “But Mary kept these things and pondered them in her heart.” Luke 2:19
Unknowns. Carl may never understand that they can be the place where God does his most magnificent miracles. But hopefully, I will remember this when I drive up to my next unknown location.