In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered.… All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
(Luke 2: 1-7 NRSV)
I love Christmas! I enjoy all the hurry and bustle, the planning, the preparation, the anticipation. But there is always a magic moment – almost always when I least expect it – that my heart is overwhelmed by the Good News, and my eyes well with tears, my throat tightens, and I know that Christmas has come at last.
In all the hustle of the season it is easy to forget the point; it is tempting to get so tied up in all the doing that we miss the being.
I think of Mary and Joseph, whose plans were rearranged and made difficult by this unexpected, unimaginable, unbelievable, but very real miracle. They managed to do what they had to do, that is, make the inconvenient, uncomfortable journey to Bethlehem for a government census, of all things.
As we prepare for Christmas these 20 centuries later, let’s remember that this was God’s greatest gift to His creation because He loves us – His only, his beloved Son!
May your Christmas be blessed and merry!