With Mary approaching her due date, Joseph was required to travel about 90 miles to Bethlehem to register for a Roman census. Why did Mary go with him? I’m sure the walk was uncomfortable — it probably took them 4-7 days. Was Joseph protecting her and the baby? Why is there no mention of Mary’s mother or family? Had they thrown her out, thinking she’d been immoral? We don’t know. But this was part of Mary’s YES, part of God’s plan. Do you ever wonder about God’s timing? Does His timing ever seem “off” to you? Mary embraced it and braced herself. Step, step, step. In what part of your life do you need to persist, to persevere, to keep taking those steps, one at a time, even though it’s challenging?

While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for the baby to be born. I imagine Joseph frantically trying to find them a room, but the town was overflowing with travelers because of the census. There was no palace for Jesus. No hospital, no midwife, no doctor. No fanfare in that dark barn. Just Joseph, Mary, and Jesus — small beginnings, humble beginnings. The light of the world came quietly. The best Joseph could do was at least safe and dry — a cave-like barn provided soft hay and privacy for the couple. Mary gave birth to Jesus and wrapped Him up snugly in cloths, then placed Him in the animals’ feeding trough. A perfect crib for a newborn.

Natural childbirth is no picnic; it wears out your body. It is an intensely profound yet common experience. Yet even as Mary and Joseph were able to rest physically, mentally, and emotionally, there were remarkable spiritual things happening just outside of the barn. Soon shepherds came to see the baby, telling wondrous tales of angels and choruses and good words and hope. What? Angels sang over the earth? Heaven knew Jesus was born!

A few times in Scripture it is noted that Mary was a thoughtful woman, pondering in her heart the things, people, and events happening around her. She considered; she ruminated; she dipped her thoughts into God and let His marinade work on them. What are you pondering lately? What are you wondering about? What is causing you to marvel?


Morning Pause: Pause to marvel at the quiet, unseen way Jesus came into the world. No theater, no Facebook announcement, no Insta photos, no quick SnapChat shares; Jesus came quietly. Tonight, take a break from social media and instead ponder, What is quietly being born in you today? Lift it up to the Lord and trust Him. 

Afternoon Pause: How is the timing of your day going? Consider Mary and the timing of walking those 4-7 days, getting to Bethlehem, and then not even being able to find a room. In the middle of crazy, slow down and look for God. Reconnect intentionally with Him. He’s got you just like He had Mary.

Evening Pause: Look back on the day: what good news did God send to you today? Who interrupted your day, but with marvelous news? Close your eyes and imagine God, your loving Father, singing over you.