2In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3All went to their own towns to be registered. 4Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. (Luke 2: 1-5)
And I remember that long journey to Bethlehem. It was uncomfortable. It was scary. It was lonely. We were traveling with others but it seemed to be just Joseph and me. Perhaps it was because we were the only ones there that knew. And, yet, we didn’t know. We thought we would find appropriate lodging. We thought that perhaps there would be a lovely older woman there that could talk me through the birth. We imagined that we would have a place that was warm and comfortable. But that was not to be. The city had filled to capacity. There was just no room.
I have always thought of that night and wondered if it was the way God intended. Did God mean to come in virtually unnoticed through a back door of the world in the darkest of alleys? What was the point if no one noticed? Or was this God’s way of testing us to see if the world was open enough to receive the Christ? I’m not usually in to believing that God tests us. I think God came into the world just like we all do—as an innocent baby who needed to be held and loved and welcomed into the world. But the world was moving much too fast as it often does. The world was not prepared. The world was not ready to change.
I now understand that God did not come because the world was ready. God came because the world needed God. God came because it was time. The world needed to be saved not just from the evils surrounding it but from itself. The world needed to be awakened. The world needed to be reminded who it was. So, into the darkest and most foreboding part of the world, God came. And the baby that I held was indeed the very Saving Grace of the world. The baby that I held that day was not the One who would make our lives easier or clean up our world. He would not stop wars or stamp out poverty. He would not bring us together as one world. The baby that I held that night was the One that would show us the way to God and that on that journey, we would be called to bring Light into the darkness over and over again.
Lift up your heads, ye mighty gates; behold, the King of glory waits; the King of Kings is drawing near; the Savior of the world is here!
Fling wide the portals of your heart; make it a temple, set apart from earthly use for heaven’s employ, adorned with prayer and love and joy.
Redeemer come, with us abide; our hearts to thee we open wide; let us thy inner presence feel; thy grace and love in us reveal.
Thy Holy Spirit lead us on until our glorious goal is won; eternal praise, eternal fame be offered, Savior, to thy name! (George Weissel, 17th century; trans. By Catherine Winkworth, 1855)
And not that [this] story is told, what does it mean? How can I tell? What does life mean? If the meaning could be put into a sentence there would be no need of telling the story. (Henry Van Dyke)
FOR TODAY: What do you need to change or re-arrange to make room for God coming into your life? (And given the hour, this is an EXCELLENT time to figure that out!)
Peace to you as we begin to see the Light coming into the world,