Sunday, December 17, 2017

Inspiration for the Long Writing Journey

by Andy Lee @WordsByAndyLee

Every Christmas, under a canopy of stars, we would carry our pajama laden children to the minivan. We’d tuck them into car seats and strap down a television and VCR to provide entertainment during the marathon journey across the country.

From North Carolina to California our military family would motor down the highway with few stops. Time was of the essence. Family awaited.

I wasn’t a huge fan of these road-trips. This is not what I signed up for when I said, “I do.” Tired and almost sick from exhaustion when we arrived, I’d tumble out of the car and thank the Lord we’d made it to our final destination with all three children alive and our marriage intact. Those were hard trips, but I never had to travel nine months pregnant on a donkey.

I can't imagine pregnant Mary's journey all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem on the back of an animal.

 Did she complain? Was she almost sick when they finally arrived? How did she react when they couldn’t find a room?

We assume she gently pressed her lips holding back frustration and trusted God. She looks so calm in our nativity sets.

I would've been in tears and having a heart-to-heart with God—a monologue prayer temper-tantrum. I don’t handle stress well when I’m tired. Why are you doing this God? He is YOUR Son! Are you kiddin’ me? I just traveled seventy miles on the back of that stinkin’ donkey! I didn’t sign up for 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 Mary if she reacted like most would have? I believe if she did get upset, God understood her frustration, but he had a plan. He had a purpose for their predicament, so no room in the inn miraculously opened up when Joseph tried to secure one for his wife and almost-born-child.

The baby was destined to be born outside.

His birthing room, in the middle of a shepherd’s field, held meaning, but maybe not what you think. Have you ever wondered how the shepherds knew where to find him?

The shepherds knew where to find the infant Messiah because of the sign given by the angel; in the angel’s proclamation was a clue to the specific field. Read Luke’s words:

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests (Luke 2:8-14).

Over 700 years before this glorious moment, the prophet Micah wrote about a special “tower of the flock” known in Hebrew as Migdal Edar (Micah 4:8). Watch towers sprinkled the countryside of Israel for protection during times of war, but during times of peace shepherds used the towers to protect their flocks.

This particular tower in Micah’s prophecy was no ordinary look-out. This watch tower stood in the field where the sacrificial lambs were born. They were inspected by priestly shepherds trained to examine each lamb for defects. Only perfect lambs could be sacrificial offerings. The priests would swaddle the newly born in white cloths to protect and keep them clean, and they would lay the lambs in the manger.

As Mary swaddled her infant son with the only available cloth she had—cloths at this special stable—which by the way would have been spotlessly clean because of the perfect lambs, I wonder if her heart felt the prophetic and symbolic purpose of her actions. Perhaps fear began to invade her mind as she tucked Jesus’s tiny hands under the sacrificial lamb’s cloth. Maybe she thought, This is not what I signed up for, God. But perhaps the sound of sheep and voices of shepherds brought her back to the glorious moment of the birth of a baby both God and man. A baby whose kingdom, according to Gabrielle, would reign forever.

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child,  and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

Mary swaddled the Lamb of God in cloths and laid Him in the manger.

And they worshiped with the shepherds.

This is what she had signed up for.

Has the call to write been a longer, more difficult journey than you anticipated? How does God’s purpose for the birth of His Son in this specific manger affect the way you will view your writing career now?


Andy lee is the author of A Mary Like Me: Flawed Yet Called and The Book of Ruth Key Word Study: A 31 Day Journey to Hope and Promise. She is a blogger, inspirational speaker, Bible teacher, and empty-nest survivor. Join hundreds of viewers on her Facebook Live broadcast Monday-Friday for the Bite of Bread, and visit her website at where Andy where Andy provides resources to help you dig deep to live fully.


  1. Wonderful, Andy, just wonderful. Thanks.
    Jay Wright
    Anderson, SC

    1. Thank you Jay! I pray it encouraged you to continue on the writing journey.

  2. You brought new insight into the Nativity reading in the Gospel. And somehow made it relevant to writing.
    Inspiring indeed! Amazing post, Andy.

  3. Thank you Ingmar! May the Lord bless your writing.

  4. Blessed beyond words Ms. Andy. Thank you so much for sharing God's love with us through your words. God's blessings ma'am.

    1. God is good! Thank you Jim. Blessings back to you.

  5. You brought new meaning into the Gospel message. Great post!

  6. Thank you, Andy. Your insight brought a new depth to my worship. So beautiful.