D is for Donkey –
Nearly every representation of the nativity includes a donkey. There is no biblical reference to Mary having ridden on a donkey, however, several things make me think she probably did.
*Joseph was required to report to his own city to be counted for a census. Although Mary wasn’t required to register for the census, Joseph was most likely hesitant to leave her in Nazareth and subject her to ridicule that she was in all probability facing because of her condition. More importantly, Micah had prophesied that the Savior of Israel would be born in Bethlehem, thus requiring her to accompany Joseph.
*At the time of the decree, Mary and Joseph were in Nazareth and Joseph was to report to Bethlehem. The two towns are somewhere between 70 and 90 miles apart and it would take anywhere from four days to week to travel that distance on foot. I would imagine that at this point of Mary’s pregnancy, they both would want to expedite the trip in any way possible.
*The terrain surrounding Bethlehem is described as “stoney hill country”, making it difficult and dangerous for her to maneuver on foot.
*Donkeys were a common mode for transportation during biblical times.
*Two other extremely significant events demonstrate Jesus entering a venue on an animal. In Mark 11, Jesus makes a triumphal entry into Jerusalem shortly before His crucifixion riding a donkey, showing His humbility and willingness to become the sacrifice for all mankind. Revelation 19:11 tells of the Second Coming of Christ. “And I saw Heaven opened; and behold a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True”. This entrance shows Jesus in all his glory, power and majesty. It seems logical to me that his entrance into the world would involve his mother riding a donkey.
In all reality, whether Mary rode a donkey or not isn’t all that significant. The important fact is that Mary and Joseph followed God’s leading and their obedience fulfilled the prophecies of Christ’s coming.