Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
“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 at this particular time of the year, our family knows where we are headed.
Every year of our marriage of forty-nine years, we have gone out to secure a real Christmas tree, even during the onset 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 assisted in the selection process.
This year was no exception and a few days ago the tree—a little smaller than usual—was selected and now is standing proudly in our family room waiting for the decorations. I awoke early yesterday morning, while Ellie (who spent the night with us), and Lynda were still asleep to put the lights on—surprising them with a lighted tree as they awoke.
The scripture above points out that Joseph and Mary were heading back to Bethlehem, their city, to be registered. And it just so happens that that’s where it happened. Where God’s plan to save the world was born—through the birth of a tiny baby in a dank, dark stable. Mary and Joseph were heading back to be registered, and the Virgin birth took place. The point in time from which we set our calendars and mark our days.
Where are you heading as we begin this most exciting of seasons? A season always filled with anticipation and joy—at least that’s what I 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? What do you love the most? All of us are running after something. Too often we find we’re running after stuff, and money, things, trophies and awards. Too often we find we’re about our images, our reputation and recognition. Trust me, when you get there you may not feel as satisfied or fulfilled as you had hoped you would. But whatever it is, we’re all running after something.
And here we are as a society heading toward Christmas.
But why? What do we expect to find?
Perhaps for some time off from the office routine. Gifts. Football bowl games. Decorations. Christmas trees. Christmas parties. We’re heading toward Christmas and those reasons all seem to be an appropriate part of the landscape of this season within our culture. In and of themselves, they are 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 culture? 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 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 form of a tiny baby—the Baby Jesus—to be the Savior of the world.
The smaller, cute and no longer lonely 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 few weeks’ time.
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 the Baby do in our lives, to change our lives, and to change the world?
Do you know where you are heading? Head toward the manger, toward Bethlehem, to the Baby.
We’ll go together.
In His Name—Scott
Copyright 2016. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.