I’m so thankful that census years don’t require travel like back in Bible times. Someone knocks on the door, or you fill out a form online. End of story.
But for Joseph all those years ago, this census meant travel to his ancestral home. Who doesn’t love a trip home? For Joseph, it was dirt roads, walking and bringing along his very pregnant fiancée, Mary. Nothing pleasant or exceptional about the journey, except maybe the company.
Joseph’s trip home seemed very… normal. Just going to be counted. But there was so much more to this journey than appeared at the surface. For each step Joseph and Mary made to Bethlehem, they were a step closer in fulfilling prophecies foretold for centuries. For millennia.
But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from old, from ancient days.Micah 5:2
…he (Messiah) shall bruise your (Satan’s) head, and you shall bruise his heel.Genesis 3:15
Just walking. Taking a trip that took time away from his business, from his preparations for the upcoming marriage and new baby soon to arrive. A nuisance, really. The government can make things so inconvenient sometimes.
As I read this account in Luke 2, I see a lot of mundane. Walking. Finding a place to stay in a crowded city. And as Mary gives birth to the Son of God, Scripture records no instantaneous fanfare. There is exhaustion and mess and only a feeding trough to place this precious One in.
I am sure there was some wonder at how normal this all was. We often get the idea that God’s miracles always involve a dramatic flair and a choir of angels and a rainbow or thunder or something. Anything.
None of that is indicated in Luke 2. Oh, the shepherds saw angels. But we don’t actually see Mary and Joseph get that kind of validation at that time. Perhaps they did and it isn’t in the narrative.
Either way, this cosmic event – the birth of a Savior promised from the very time of original sin- was not filled with an aura of mystery and supernatural. It was very natural and extremely humble.
Just a business trip. Just a labor and delivery. Just a poor couple in a crude place.
God works this way. In the everyday. The miracle is not always a climactic explosion, but often a hushed, humbling normal. Eyes of faith will see it, trust and tremble in spite of the lack of showmanship.
A purposeful journey that fulfilled prophecy. The advent of the very Messiah promised from time in memorial. A couple surrendered to a plan that would effect history for eternity.
Let us have those eyes of faith. God’s providence works it’s way through every fiber of normalcy in life. We can trust it.
Read it yourself: Luke 2: 1-7