4So Joseph had to leave Nazareth in Galilee and go to Bethlehem in Judea. Long ago Bethlehem had been King David's hometown, and Joseph went there because he was from David's family.
5Mary was engaged to Joseph and traveled with him to Bethlehem. She was soon going to have a baby, 6and while they were there, 7she gave birth to her first-born son. She dressed him in baby clothes and laid him on a bed of hay, because there was no room for them in the inn.
Joseph must have felt like such a failure. Mary must have been so mad at him, or trying hard not be. But she couldn’t have been as mad at him as he was at himself.
He didn’t really know how it had happened. A lot of it was out of his control. There was that order from the governor that came out of nowhere, Rome jerking everyone around again. But there were things he could have done. He could have planned better. Could have kept his ear to the ground. Could have had more money saved in the emergency fund. Could have had a job that paid more.
But in the end the reasons didn’t matter. The facts were the facts and the facts were that they were finally in Bethlehem and now it was looking like his nine-months-pregnant wife was going to have to sleep in a barn, after spending a week on a donkey. He had blown the whole husband thing. He had blown the whole father thing already, and the kid wasn’t even born yet.
Except that he hadn’t. What he had really done was to get Mary exactly where she needed to be in time to fulfill a prophecy and set into motion the salvation of the human race.
We fall into the trap of thinking that if we don’t get every step of the journey exactly right, we’re going to ruin the plan God had for our lives. We feel like there’s a right and a wrong decision for every choice we have to make in every minute of our day. But God is bigger than that, and so is his grace. He knows the intentions of our hearts. He sees the reason we are dancing, not the precision of our footwork. Thank God.
Lord, help us to rest in the plans you have for us. Please help us to let go of our illusions of control and rest in the knowledge that if we give our lives to you, you will ensure that we will be where we need to be, when we need to be there.