For many, a smaller-sized family gathering is the destination. For others, this Christmas is a stay-at-home celebration. For all of us, this Christmas is so different from ones we experienced in the past.
My wife, Pam, is a special memory maker for our three grandchildren. She has dedicated one room as a play area just for them when they visit.
At Christmas, she utilizes another room she calls Bethlehem. In this room, there are sizable Nativity characters we once had on our lawn during the Christmas season while living in Tuscaloosa.
Our oldest daughter enjoyed them immensely when she was young. She would spend time talking to the characters, and she loved holding Baby Jesus.
Now a new generation is enjoying these characters.
One Christmas, our granddaughter was running toward the room and toward the Nativity characters and shouted, “Let’s go to Bethlehem” – reminiscent of what the shepherds declared in Luke 2:15.
In the minds of our little grandchildren, that room represents Bethlehem. When I see them there interacting with the characters, I remind myself that, like the shepherds of old, we need to have a spiritual journey to Bethlehem.
The road to Bethlehem leads us toward experiencing anew the story of Jesus and His birth. This journey reminds us that Jesus did not come into this world as a reigning king regaling himself in all kinds of pomp and circumstance. No, His birthplace was a simple manger.
Revisiting this manger scene spiritually and Biblically helps us to understand that “God became flesh and dwelled, abided, tabernacled among us.” God became flesh. God has come in the Person of Jesus.
A simple way of encompassing the life of Jesus is to declare that He was born to Mary by the Holy Spirit and that His life led to the Cross where He became the sacrifice for our sins.
But we can always be assured that Jesus wears the crown of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Let’s go to Bethlehem this Christmas.
May we capture the inquisitive joy of little children and experience Christmas like a child.
That may be difficult for people who have been adults for a while – but not impossible.
Listen closely to the sounds of children in real time or sanctified imagination.
Bethlehem awaits. The Christ of Christmas bids us to come. This spiritual journey can be a spiritual renewal for all us.
I pray that is the experience we have during this most unusual year of Christmas celebrations.
Rick LanceMatt. 6:33