Could it be any more overwhelming? Mary and Joseph finally arrive in Bethlehem. The city is overcrowded with no place to stay. Then the contractions begin. Were it not for the grace and charity of a stranger to offer them a stable, they would be delivering the Christ out on the streets.
In this painting for Ascension Press, we see Mary and Joseph navigating the streets of Bethlehem at dusk. They pause as a contraction begins. Joseph remains as supportive as he can amidst the frantic circumstances. Mary is focused, patient, and determined.
Notice the crowd is a sea of people going in one direction while Mary and Joseph travel against the flow. The Holy Family is on a different journey than the others. They are on an Advent journey.
Notice the obscured source of light that shines on them. We don't know who offered the stable to them. It was the hospitality of a stranger who made room for the expectant family and the child who would soon be born.
In the hardest moments of life, may we learn from Mary and Joseph. May continue to be on the Advent way. May we be lights of hospitality and charity to others. And may we be humble enough to accept grace when it is given to us.