We've been doing an advent calender this Christmas season. Inside it are little books, one for each day and it tells the story of Christmas. Boys really enjoy it and look forward to their turn to read the book and hang it on the tree. On day 8 the book is titled "The Journey". Here is what it said,
"Joseph helped Mary climb onto the donkey's back. Then he led the donkey slowly away from their home, down the streets of Nazareth and into the countryside.
The road took them through fields filled with screeching birds and wilderness areas inhabited by howling jackals. Now and then, Joseph and Mary felt afraid. But they comforted each other and spoke of their faith in God. Clip, clop, clip, clop went the donkey's hooves as they plodded up steep, dusty trails.
Clip, clop, clip, clop went the donkey on steady hooves down winding rocky paths. The stones hurt Joseph's feet, and the sun made Mary drowsy. How she longed to stretch out on a soft bed. But the road to Bethlehem was a long one, and they still had many miles to go.
Finally the trail led them down to the sandy desert with its long hot days and cold nights. Joseph and Mary prayed they would be safe."
As I read this story I was moved to tears. How much the mother of our savior suffered and sacrificed in order to fulfill the prophets words that the Savior would be born in the City of David. She labored, and struggled, frightened and exhausted, doing her best to keep her baby safe and alive. Her journey reminds me of the J journey so many birth mothers make to place their children in a safe place, that they might live. They travel through a hot dry land parched and afraid, crying out to God to save them and their children and when they finally reach "Bethlehem" they make a great sacrifice and leave their children in the hands of others in hopes that their children will not just have a better life but just so that child might live. As we wait for our children to come home I feel the Lord impressing on me the need to pray for their safety. I wonder if they are on a dangerous journey right now, filled with howling jackals and suffocating heat, and so I pray. Would you pray too?
" He brought them out with mighty power and upraised fist to strike their enemies, for his loving kindness to "my babies" continues forever. Praise the Lord who opened the "the sea of red tape" to make a path before them, for his loving kindness continues forever, and he led them safely through, for his loving kindness continues forever-- Psalms 136:11-14