Meditations on the Vigil of Christmas


Today you could make the 70-80 mile trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem in about an hour or two. For Joseph and Mary, however, it would have taken several days – on foot, over difficult terrain. We can suppose though that for Mary, nine months pregnant, they would have acquired the use of a donkey for her to ride on.

After this arduous trek, Joseph and Mary would have been quite tired when they arrived in Bethlehem – only to find that there was no room in the inn. Their long journey would take a little longer.

This would be concerning for anyone, having no place to stay, but Mary was also near her time. Still, the holy couple was not alarmed; they did not fret or worry. They knew the Lord was with them. He had journeyed with them. Indeed, Mary had carried the incarnate Son of God within her for nine months.

Joseph and Mary had no need to be anxious – God would provide. They found shelter in a stable fashioned out of an opening in the side of the earth. Jesus would be born in a cave, just as following his death, the Savior would rise to new life in a cave, in a tomb hewn out of the rock in the earth.

For now, however, Mary and Joseph would simply and peacefully wait, keeping vigil in joyful anticipation of the coming of the Lord.