She was not simply tired, she was bone-weary and exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that tugs at your inner being, begging you to just stop for a minute and close your eyes, allow your muscles to relax, and drift away from your body momentarily.
But that was not an option. She and her soon-to-be husband were traveling on foot and by donkey, neither mode of transportation allowing a 9 1/2 month pregnant body any relief from swollen limbs or constant discomfort.
Yet this is what she was called to do. She still didn’t understand why her.
She knew it was a blessing from God but she wondered if she was the only one who understood this. Of course her cousin and friend Elizabeth had encouraged her as her body had changed and this baby had grown within her.
Elizabeth had shielded her from her peer group who had shunned her for being unwed and pregnant.
But eventually she had returned home to her fiancé who finally believed that this baby didn’t mean she had cheated on him.
Now they were traveling back to Bethlehem where the government had ordered their family to go to be counted in a nationwide census.
Why did it have to be when she was so very pregnant and uncomfortable?
As they arrived into town, they began looking for a place to stay. Nothing was available. No fresh water to bathe, no soft mattress to sleep, no safe room to rest.
Was this really God’s will for her?
Should her willingness and obedience make her life so difficult?
All she wanted was a room – just a decent place to wash off the road grime and clean sheets to get a good night’s sleep.
Joseph asked everyone. Nothing.
Finally he circled back to where they had started, noticing that there was at least a barn where they could feel safe to sleep for the night. He knew Mary needed a minimum of a roof over her head.
The innkeeper agreed to allow them to stay in the barn. It was full of clean, fresh straw, and he could offer some blankets.
Mary resigned to the fact that after days on the road, her hopes of a clean bed were not going to materialize.
She set about making a bed where they could get some rest before moving on to their final destination the next day.
As she and Joseph lay down for the night, she prayed, asking for reassurance that this was truly the path God had laid out for her.
She awoke suddenly with excruciating pain in her abdomen. No! She could not have the Son of God in a barn! This couldn’t be right!
But as her labor progressed, she had to relinquish any thoughts about what she deemed “correct” and give it up to the God who had orchestrated this entire event.
She awoke Joseph, and he ran to get help. Thankfully a midwife was found, and she held Mary and talked her through everything.
Mary knew this woman must be an angel, provided by her Heavenly Father for this moment.
The baby boy was perfect.
As Mary looked down at this piece of heaven nursing at her breast, she wept tears of joy.
Was there a more spiritual experience than childbirth?
How does a life come to be?
Who creates the soul of this tiny creature?
As this tiny baby looked up at his mother, all of her fears and anxiety melted away.
If God could share this perfect person with her and entrust him to her, then He would most certainly provide all of their needs.
This night definitely didn’t look like Mary expected it to.
But she was discovering that her views and God’s views were quite different.
All she could do was nurture this soul while he was in her care.
The big stuff had to be trusted to God, no matter what it may look like on the surface.
May God’s love be present with you this Christmas season.