All too often, we become so engrossed in Christmas parties and giving and receiving gifts and food food and parties with ugly sweaters. It’s not all about that. It’s about relationships. It’s no mistake that The Christmas story takes place during the census. Each person had to go to be with their families to be counted.
I heard earlier today that the journey Mary and Joseph had to take was like driving from my hometown of Montevideo to Rapid City, South Dakota!! So, I went to googlemaps.com and I wanted to know, How far of a journey is that? 467.5 miles!! That’s a distance on a donkey!!
In today’s terms, that trip would take roughly 7 hours!! And that’s in a car!! Can you imagine, a four-legged animal walking with all the things they would need for their trip and a human being on his back going that far?! That is not riding in comfort for Mary, my friends. Days of travel. Days of finding places to rest, to eat.
And when they got there, Nope! Sorry! We’re all full! You should have called ahead for reservations. This trip and this birth of The King Of Kings was not about comfort from God’s perspective. Sure, He could have had someone make space and give them a soft spot to birth The Son Of Man, but they were in a barn. A smelly, full of hay and animals barn!
So many people also believe it to be a quiet tranquil place. Cattle, sheep, animals, people milling about, ANGELS PLAYING TRUMPETS!!!! This was anything but a quiet place!!! Today we spend our Christmas celebrations with coworkers at parties and with family at someone’s house with food and conversation, that’s not quiet either most times, is it?!
And then comes time for the presents. Oh! Thank you! This was exactly what I wanted! Or, Oh great! Another pair of socks or a sweater from grandma! Thanks! We get all excited or bent out of shape over material gifts, when the gift we should be the most excited about is a baby, cold, crying, wrapped in rags and laying on a bed of hay! We should get all bent out of shape when we realize there are people in the world today, right now, dying without the forgiveness of Jesus Christ in their hearts!
Which teaches us another lesson. We need to be wrapped up in relationships. So many families don’t make time to get together. Maybe the family is too far apart geographically, or they don’t get along, so why bother? Men came from great distances to see Jesus. Mary and Joseph travelled many miles just so He could be born.
Jesus was God wrapped in a baby human and people came from all over to see him, and now, we have technology that can bring family right into our living room from anywhere in the world, and we seldom use it!!
We get all wrapped up in gifts and food and we forget about the people in our lives. This year, let us make a conscious effort to include those we love, near and far! Skype, cell phones, planes, trains and automobiles (no copyright infringement of the film intended!!) all of these things are available to us and we have strayed so far from the meaning of Christmas and the Christ child. Let us remember the true gift this year is found in each and every one of us! Don’t get all wrapped up in the legalism of the season. I honestly don’t care if Jesus was really born in April! The fact is, He was! And He said He was the way, the truth and the life! To accept His grace and gift of eternal life would be the greatest gift you could receive this season if you haven’t already.
Thank you for wrapping yourself in human form so I could meet you face to face and have someone tangible to touch, to listen to, to talk with who IS God. Lord Jesus, Happy Birthday! I pray right now that you will give me a new birthday! Create in me a new spirit filled with your love, your ways, and your grace, Lord Jesus! We will celebrate this birthday together as we are both born. You came to Earth to save me from my sins. I pray you take them away and make me new in you, Jesus! In your name we pray. Amen.