Walking to Bethlehem

The Christmas rush has begun. We anxiously check our schedule and plan our holiday plans. There are so many opportunities to share good cheer to our neighbors. There are gifts to buy and parties to plan or attend. And the demands of church, family, work and the world seem overwhelming. We want the feelings of cherished Christmas from the past but know the reality of our busy lives. Between now and December 25 we will run here and there trying to do our best to celebrate the season. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could slow down and just walk this year?

The story that started all this hurry and rush has no cars rushing from place to place. There are no schedules limited to the number of shopping days before Christmas. There is only an expectant mother and her husband walking to the home of their ancestors. It was about 98 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Since she was pregnant, they probably didn’t rush. Even with Mary riding the traditional donkey, Joseph would not have pushed the journey. They would have gone at a pace that was fast enough, but not too fast.

In spite of the movies and stories, they would not have traveled alone. It was dangerous to travel such distances by oneself. They would have gone with others in a caravan. It was probably the extended family of Joseph. There would be many to help them through their journey.

It would take 4 to 7 days to reach Bethlehem. Though the town was crowded with all those returning for the census, shelter was found for the couple. In a stable, they were protected from the elements. They had time to prepare for the coming of the child on that first Christmas Eve.

Maybe we should slow down and do a little walking this Christmas season. Some time to catch our breath. Some time to renew our spirit. Some time to listen for the voice of that child born in the manger. I’m not saying cancel the parties or the shopping or the doing of good will. Just take a little time to walk to Bethlehem with your Savior and celebrate the true heart of the season.

Have a blessed Christmas.

Pastor Baker

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