Something that really struck me hard, tonight, was the humility of the folks that I have met that were in Nazi death camps. They were the sweetest, nicest people that you may ever hope to meet. But they were, all of them, first and foremost, humble. Quiet, unassuming folks that never raised their voices in celebration, even. I have always thought that Joseph and Mary must have been a lot like that, even before I met these people in this time. They did what the government required, in registering for the census, even though Mary was in her ninth month of pregnancy. Just like the Jews walked into the prison camps. Just trying to get by, in the face of oppression.
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Think about that for a bit, this Christmas season. A sixty or more mile hike, probably on foot, most likely taking a week, to get to a town where you find yourself completely unwelcome. It must have been daunting, to say the least, if not dangerous. And for dirt poor people, as they were, is must have been tragically expensive, too. You might be able to carry enough food and water for the trip going there, but you’d have to buy things for the journey home.
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And there was no delivery room or doctor to help with the birth. Just a carpenter, who would know nothing at all about the care of women and babies, trying to keep his wife-to-be from death, an all too common result back then. And for Mary, it must have been terrifying. Not even another lady there to help her have the baby, and in a barn, no less. Nowhere to put Him, but on top of the animal food, in a feed bin. That’s pretty humble, but there was nothing else they could do.
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This child, born out of wedlock, would have been shunned, in the society of those days. He would not be worth wasting spit on, for most folks, and His parents had to know that. Like the Jews from all over Europe during World War Two, they were so looked down upon that they were considered a problem. And the census they participated in was conducted only to find out how much money the government could wring out of those people.
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You have to wonder why they didn’t just leave Him there to die. Except for the signs beforehand and the witnesses that arrived, they probably would have. Any other couple in their situation definitely would have, so that had to be on their minds. All the people that showed up for the birth must have made it worse for them. They would have been trying to hush all this up, not being married yet, and here come shepherd boys and kings bearing gifts, not to mention angels proclaiming it to the world.
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I wrote all this stuff down, just as God put it in my mind. It has given me a bit of insight into the struggles of this poor couple, as well as the Jews in their Nazi dominated world, just to stay alive. I hope it does that for you, too, this year. Have a humble Christmas.