“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.” Luke 2: 1-5 (NKJV)
The tradition continues in our home.
Each year in this season, our family knows where we are headed.
Every year of our marriage of fifty-two years, we have gone out to secure a real Christmas tree, even during the rise in popularity, convenience and beauty of the artificial trees of every shape and size. And ever since they were old enough to go with us, our granddaughters have helped in the selection process.
This year was no exception and a week ago the tree was selected and now is stands proudly in our family room, with lights glowing, waiting for the rest of the decorations.
The scripture notes that Joseph and Mary were heading back to Bethlehem, to be registered. It’s where it would happen—God’s plan to save the world—through the birth of a tiny baby in a straw-filled manger, in a dirty, damp and dark stable. The point in time in history, from which we would set our calendars and mark our days.
Where are you heading in this most exciting of seasons? A season always filled with anticipation and joy—at least that’s what I always see coming out of the hearts, eyes, minds and words of our two granddaughters who help us select our Christmas tree each year—in honor of the Baby Jesus.
Where are you heading? What are you running after? We’re all running after something. Too often we find we’re running after stuff, and money, things, trophies and awards. Maybe we’re running after our image, reputation or some recognition, hoping to find fulfillment, satisfaction and purpose. But whatever it is, we’re all running after something.
Here we are heading toward Christmas.
But why? What do we expect to find?
Time off from the usual grind and routines. Gifts. Football bowl games. Decorations. Christmas parties. We’re heading toward Christmas and those reasons are all part of the landscape of the season, and in and of themselves, they’re all okay.
But we’re heading toward Christmas—and the birth that changed the whole world and our lives, forever. Where does that fit in within the landscape of our lives? What priority will that take in our life in the days ahead as we reach Bethlehem with Mary and Joseph and the Baby Jesus?
What will we do with it? What will we expect to find at the end of the journey? And what will it mean in our lives and for our lives in the days to come and the years that follow?
It’s the season where we celebrate the moment in time where it all really started. You have to admit God had a pretty strange plan to save the world—by sending His Son in the form of a tiny baby—to be the Savior of the world.
The tree standing in our living room will remind us, in the context of our family tradition, of that Baby every day right up to that morning which is coming again in a little more than a week.
We’re heading to the manger, in the stable—to see the Baby Jesus, once again.
What will we do with the Baby when we get there?
What will we allow the Baby to do in our lives, to change our lives, and to change the world?
Do you know where you are heading?
It’s Christmas. Head toward the manger, toward Bethlehem, to the Baby.