Time for a Census
It was time for a census. But not just an ordinary census. This one was not a computer registration, or even a mail in registration. No, this census meant travel for many people. Gone were the days of when families never strayed far from home. In these days many people travel far and wide searching for work and often settling down in far-away cities and towns. This census meant roads would be filled with travelers heading to their town or city of birth. It also meant restaurants would be filled and accommodations hard to find for the road weary traveler.
A Day of Travel
Mary and Joseph were engaged to be wed but travel in this season posed a few extra challenges. Not only did they need to travel to the City of David, but Mary was also expecting their first child. Very soon their little Baby Boy would be born. But the decree had gone out and travel they must for the census count.
The day arrived and they loaded their luggage and other travel needs into Joseph’s little Honda. Cramming at least two weeks of travel needs into their little two-door Accord was a challenge. But they did it, and then, crammed into the front seat of the car, off they headed down the road.
Through bumper-to-bumper traffic, Joseph drove through the night while Mary quietly slept beside him. Aside from a handful of roadside Service Centre stops, the journey was slow and tiring. But finally, after close to 18 hours on the road, Joseph and Mary arrived in his hometown of Bethlehem.
Joseph, while he loved to drive, was not much of a travel organizer. As a matter of fact, he forgot to call ahead for a room! Then, making things even more interesting, just as they pulled into town, Mary started having contractions. Their little Baby Boy was ready for His arrival into the world.
Looking for a Room
Where would this Child be born?! With no time to find a hospital, all Joseph saw before him in the still of the night was a sea of flashing neon signs screaming, “No Vacancy”. Pulling off the main road, heading for a gravel road, Joseph scanned the roadside searching for anything. A light on at a house, or even a small gas station that just might be open for road weary travelers.
As the gravel road turned into a dirt road, he saw the glimmer of a lone porch light and a sign that said, County Road Inn. Could this be a place of refuge for Joseph and his expectant bride to be Mary? Would this be the place for the birth of his newborn Son?
Much to his surprise, Joseph found the Inn Keeper sleeping on the front porch. It seems the Inn was so full he’d given up his own bed and found his slumber in an old Lazy Boy chair overlooking the front yard. With contractions getting closer by the minute, Joseph woke the Inn Keeper and asked, “Is there any place where my wife can give birth to our Child?”
Rubbing sleep from his eyes, the Inn Keeper led Mary and Joseph around to the back of the building and opened the door to his old workshop. There wasn’t much there except a floor full of wood shavings and a mouse or two scurrying around on the floor. Joseph, however, managed to find space for Mary where she would hopefully find some comfort, and a place to have their baby.
Shortly after midnight, the miracle of childbirth took place. Mary gave birth to a Son and they named Him Jesus, Immanuel, which means God with us. But this wasn’t just your normal everyday birth. While Mary and Joseph were engaged to be wed, this Little Child, born on a night when there was no room at the Inn, was a miraculous birth. He was born to the Virgin Mary, as a result of God’s love reaching out to earth. The One we now call Wonderful Counselor, Prince of Peace, the Savior of the World, came into this world, so we might discover hope, peace and love.
“For God so loved the world, He gave His only Son, Jesus. And everyone who believes in Him, shall have everlasting life”.