Days and days of travel with a man she barely knew.  Pregnant. Uncomfortable.  Hot. Riding a donkey.

I imagine Mary just wanted to stay at home and wait for this baby to arrive. She knew he would be amazing – a fiery angel had promised her such. So why could she just not wait in her own home and put her hope in him. She had done her part, right? But now, to travel.  I would have been grumpy and probably weepy, too.

Yet, there was more to the story than Mary knew, angelic visitation not withstanding. A prophecy of a little town. A star aligned just so in the sky.  Pieces of story she could not know.

On days like today, when I am tired and a little weepy myself, I easily forget what I know of story – there is always more that the hero does not know.  Steps of the journey that will shape her. Challenges that will scar her and make her more stalwart. Days when it feels like one more mile of dusty road on a donkey and she will give up.

I know this, too, though. The story is broader, deeper, higher than I can fathom. It is more full of pain AND more full of joy than I could ever anticipate.  So I am learning – again today – to not worry life into tomorrow. But to live here, in this moment of promise. To remember my own fiery angels that come in the words of friends and those ideas that blind me like visions.

Mary’s journey did not end in Bethlehem, of course. She had a lifetime of pain and joy to live still, but I imagine in those few moments – when the light of the world came to us in the gaping cry of an infant – she took her joy in gulps and knew the journey to be worth it.

Move quietly now through your day.

Joy, peace and hope remain.

Seek out the company of friends,

Remind yourself that God is near,

And allow small moments of joy to return

For the healing of your heart. — from Following the Star

What joy is in your today?  I’d love to hear about it.