Summary: This seems like an adequate description of Christmas this year. Well, our original Christmas family had to deal with some inconveniences surrounding that first Christmas. Let's see how they handled them all.
This seems like an adequate description of Christmas this year. Synonyms for inconvenient include: tiresome, difficult, problematic, awkward, undesirable, troublesome, bothersome. Sounds kind of fitting, doesn't it? The typical parties and gatherings we would normally be looking forward to will either not be happening or be drastically altered. Masks, distancing, feeling uneasy being around people, sharing food and drinks; all of this can turn a typically joyous occasion into an unnerving one. Well, our original Christmas family had to deal with some inconveniences surrounding that first Christmas. Let's see how they handled them all.
1) Inconvenient birthing room.
Luke 2:1-7, "In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn."
We're not given the emotional responses of Mary and Joseph here but if it were me, when the decree was given I could see myself saying, "are you kidding me? You need to take a census now? My wife is close to having God's child and we need to pack up and go to Bethlehem. God, why would you let this happen? Is this part of your plan?"
From Nazareth to Bethlehem was about 80 miles. That's nothing to us who have cars but for the ones who were traveling by foot and donkey, this was no afternoon trip. This would've taken about a week. Think of Mary. I'm sure the last thing she wanted to do was to hop on a donkey at nearly full-term and make that trip. This was no cruise in a Cadillac. Inconvenient.
And then, to top it all off, they get to Bethlehem and Mary starts going into labor. It could very well have been from all the jostling around on the journey. Then there was even more inconvenience. Let's add insult to injury by not being able to get in the inn. Mary-long trip riding on a donkey, nine months pregnant, already in labor-being told she will have no bed in a nice room. Instead she will need to go to a cave; a stable filled with smelly animals to have God's child.
Again, we're not told of the emotions or responses from Joseph and Mary but if I was told my wife would not be getting in the inn, I probably would've been like, "This is just great! I can't believe this is happening right now. Stay in Nazareth and give birth in our nice, cozy home. Is that too much to ask? I guess it is." While I'm complaining my wife would be telling me it's either the stable or the street, take your pick because this baby is coming.
[Our story with Beth giving birth up north.] But guess what? We survived; everything worked out. Just like it did for Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. Despite the census, despite the labor, despite the stable, everyone was ok. Not only that, something happened to help compensate for their frustrating inconveniences.
The shepherds were in a field watching over their sheep when the angel appeared and told them that Christ had been born. The angel gave them a sign so they would know where to find him. Then the heavenly host appeared and sang and then they all disappeared. The shepherds got up at once and went to Bethlehem.
Luke 2:16-19, "So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."
This inconvenience would've been a pleasant one. Can you imagine how surprised Mary and Joseph were when these guys showed up? And then they're telling the story that led them there. "This angel told us that today a Savior has been born; Christ the Lord they called him. Then they gave us the sign that he would be in a manger. And we knew that was a good sign cause how many babies are born in a stable?"