December 9, 2022

Painful Journeys

Key Verse to Read and Treasure

And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, form the town of Nazareth, to Judea to the city of David, which was called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child—Luke 2:4-5  

For Insight

I admire any woman that can ride for days on a donkey during the last month of pregnancy, hours before going into labor. The last time I was pregnant which was more than 40 years ago, I remember even a short car ride was uncomfortable; to walk from the back of a store to the front was excruciating.

This picture of Mary, the Mother of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, riding on a donkey gives us insight into her character of dedication, determination, and selflessness. For someone so young her strength of heart and obedience to God is extraordinary.

Sometimes our earthly journeys are marked by pain, for some periodic and others pain from beginning to end. For many, as far back as they can remember their life has been one painful or traumatic event after another. I know people who suffer with health conditions where pain is their daily norm. They are not those who say, “I’ve had some good days and I’ve had some bad days.” But rather, “I don’t know the last time I had a good day or a day without pain or struggle.” If we don’t know or understand that kind of existence or journey, we might have a hard time identifying or being empathetic.    

God did something truly wonderful and amazing for us. He sent Jesus into our pain. He did not stand afar off he did not save us from a distance but entered in to experience firsthand our earthly journey. When God met with Moses at the burning bush he told him, I’ve heard the cries and now I have come down (Ex. 3:7-8)

When your life is filled with pain—be it physical, emotional, mental, spiritual or any other, God comes down, God enters in, not just to observe, but to walk with you. People who manage to get through life even with the pain they experience on a daily basis are able to do so because the Lord is with them.         

Pressing through and forward in life when emotional, mental, or physical pain is not only part of the daily challenge, but the day, is not an easy task. Just as God was with his servant Mary on that long, painful journey to Bethlehem, he is with those whose lives are steeped in pain from beginning to end and in between.

Father, we thank you for sending your Son, Jesus to us for sending him into our painful existences and for helping, identifying, and saving us. Amen   

Christmas Mindfulness

Consider the times Jesus entered into your pain and what he brought with him

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