The First Christmas Road Trip, Difficult Circumstances, and God’s Wisdom



When my kids were little, we dressed them in their p.j.’s and packed them into the mini-van with their pillows and blankets. We loaded the Christmas presents and a small T.V. and VCR (strapped down in the front for all children to see.) And in the middle of the night, in the presence of all the stars, we’d set out for our annual drive across the country from North Carolina to California.

It took 24 hours to reach my parents’ house in Oklahoma where we’d visit for a few days and then reload back into the van for a 27 hour trip straight to California for a visit with Mike’s family.

It sounds like torture, but it was actually quite fun (for the kids.) I was always exhausted and sick by the time we reached Lemoore, but you do what you have to do. And that is how our military family had to travel if we wanted to be with our families at Christmas. Plus my soldier husband thrived on these adventures.

My kids now love loooong road trips. I think we’ve warped them for life. I myself prefer the trips you take in the air. My legs don’t get so stiff nor am I sick from lack of sleep when I arrive.

I can’t imagine pregnant Mary’s journey all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. It’s uncomfortable enough to be 9 months pregnant much less being in that condition travelling on the back of an animal. No van or airplane available.

Did she complain? Was she almost sick when they finally arrived? And then, how did she react when they could not find a room? We assume she gently pressed her lips holding back frustration and trusted God, right?

I would’ve been in tears asking God why in the world He would do this to me. I was having HIS Son! He made me travel all the way to Bethehem and now THIS! It’s a good thing I wasn’t Mary.

But what if she did get upset? She was human. Would we think less of her if she reacted like the rest of us would have in that situation?

She was human. Holy but not divine. I believe, if she did get upset, God understood. Yet He had a purpose for their predicament, so no room in the inn miraculously opened up.

Maybe when the shepherds showed up Mary realized why God had picked her birthing room to be in a cave under the stars. The shepherds had to come. They were the chosen ones to first lay eyes on the Messiah. The Creator of the world had to be born in the open space of creation not an enclosed stuffy room, and He was to be proclaimed first by men with no earthly status. Men who would understand His heart–the heart of the Good Shepherd.

[tweetability]Our God always has a good purpose. We just can’t always see it or understand.[/tweetability]

Have you experienced a situation that seemed ridiculous at the time but afterwards you saw God’s good purpose? Personally, I think Mary did.


Much Grace and Peace,


We live by faith, not by sight (Romans 5:7).


  1. Once I had to do a last minute science project with my daughter who’d let the assignment slip. I was so angry and frustrated with her and wanted to let her fail so she’d learn her lesson. But I didn’t. And as we worked side by side she opened up and told me stories about her life I’d not known. These were painful stories for the most part but then she got funny and we ended up having a wonderful time. God showed me a side of her I’d never noticed and I will be forever grateful for that Christmas gift!

    1. I love how He works. What a good mom to help her. Thanks for sharing, Erika! Blessings!

  2. Patricia Keough-Wilson

    I am a superlative whiner, usually to an audience of one, my husband Ken. But God hears and never says, you again; will you ever quit whining? Sadly I fail to show even a hint of God’s grace when Ken whines. Quit whining, I tell him. I read your devotion and realize whining is showing a lack of gratitude for all God’s blessings in my life. Time to give up whining and give thanks.

    1. Wow, really? I whine too. Thanks for sharing Patricia. I’ll work on my whining with you trusting Hod is doing something good.

  3. Jan Doke

    That was really good, Ethy! I am so glad you endured those long trips because sometimes ( often!) you stopped at our house to let me wrap my arms around you! I think you’re probably right about Mary. God uses even us imperfect ones for His great works.

    1. And I always loved your arms wrapped around my tiredness! Much love to you my Jan!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *