1 At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. 2 (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. 4 And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. 5 He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
So on this, day two of my journey towards what Christmas means, I have felt an urge to speak on the donkey. My original thought process on this was imagining Mary very pregnant riding on a donkey all the way to Bethlehem. What an uncomfortable ride it must have been. I was contemplating how much we complain about our modes of transportation and how our cars break down; the costs involved with keeping up with the maintenance of the vehicles. When in all reality we should be so grateful for what we have considering the ways of the past.
Well, as I was looking up the story of how Mary and Joseph and looking for the verse that describes how they rode into town on a donkey, I could not find such words. This makes me think we as a society just made the interpretation of the riding on a donkey part, which is fine, it was the main mode of transportation of the day, but it somehow took out some of the magic for me. What if they just walked the whole distance? What if they rode a horse or a camel? Does that mess with anyone else’s vision of the journey?
Also as I was searching for donkey in the New Testament the first mention of a donkey is when the disciples were sent to get the one tied up in a nearby village. Then a donkey was used to carry the man the Samaritan rescued. The final mention of the splendid animal was when one carried Jesus into Jerusalem right before His crucifixion. After studying this a bit I found it ironic that Jesus started out in Jerusalem, perhaps by riding on a donkey while in Mary’s womb and thus also ending up on a donkey towards the end of His lifetime here on earth. Coincidence? I fear not.
God uses the unlikely sometimes to make His point known. He loves us all the same, it matters not what we look like or what car we drive or if we own a big fancy home. He often uses the broken and the avoidable people to make His greatest testimonies. Most would view the donkey as a low animal in the scheme of things, but it is the one animal which carried a King. Whether or not Mary rode on a donkey is not the question, it is the journey that really is what is important. The whole trip to Bethlehem had to be a journey of faith. Even though they were decreed to go on this trip, somehow I just feel Mary and Joseph had an inkling of what would happen when they got there, after all they were bringing the Son of God into the world, I am sure the Father would keep them informed.