The “Busy” of Bethlehem
After Mary returned home from visiting Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary probably had a private, hurried wedding ceremony. There would be no grand wedding feast or public vows. Everything had changed for this young, chosen couple. They had to travel to Bethlehem, away from their hometown, to register for a census.
Bible historians believe that there may have been as many as 1 million visitors slogging the streets of this small, ancient city named “Bethlehem”.
What would happen if 1 million people invaded your town? What would that do to the traffic patterns? Or the lines at the mall? Or to the already overcrowded hotels? Or in attempting to get a reservation at your favorite restaurant?
When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem for the census, it was like the mall the day after Thanksgiving in every city in western civilization. There was no Mapquest to find your way or priceline.com to pre-book a hotel room.
We have never experienced “busy” compared to Bethlehem on this momentous night. There were donkeys braying and vendors shouting; there was a cavalcade of camels, people, tax collectors and city officials pushing and shoving their way through the dusty streets of Bethlehem. There was the odor of manure and the smell of crushed and sweating bodies on every corner of every street.
People’s nerves were taut, their pocketbooks were empty and they were all fed up with a greedy government! It was a mass of humanity who didn’t know where they were or how to get to where they needed to go. Sounds a lot like the 21st Century, doesn’t it?!
God chose this moment of chaos and confusion ... of frayed nerves and economic failure ... as the birthplace of His Son. God chose to invade the traffic jams of humanity with His little Boy.
We have allowed our lives to become as chaotic, confusing and out of control as any city, in any part of the world, at any time in history. The beauty of Christmas is that it was His presence that changed the purpose of the busy-ness!
God desired to neutralize our expensive way of living and so He sent the Prince of Peace.
God knew that we would need an answer for our stress-induced meltdowns and so He sent heaven’s Darling to be our answer.
In the midst of the mess of humanity and the endless voices of questions with no answers, a Savior was born. My prayer is that this year, in the middle of your overly active life, that you will have time to gaze in wonder at the Baby in the manger.
Do not be so wrapped up in the temporary aspects of the season that you miss the divine appointments of Christmas and the glory of it all! The glory of Christmas has always been and will always be the miracle of His presence ... a newborn baby lying in a manger.
Bible Reading: (click on Bible verse to open in reader)
Let There Be Joy In Me:
Make a list of all of the things that keep you “too busy” during the Christmas season. How can you shorten this list?
Plan a family night, or a gathering of friends, when you simply enjoy the Savior. Plan to read the Christmas story from the Bible and sing some well-loved Christmas Carols. Pray for one another.
If this devotional has been an encouragement to you, would you consider giving a year-end gift to Just Joy! Ministries this Christmas season?