“Christmas Vacation”

This weeks Meditation:  “Christmas Vacation”
Read: Luke 2:1-20

Christmas humor to start with…. It was Christmas and the judge was in a merry mood as he asked the prisoner, “What are you charged with?”
“Doing my Christmas shopping early,” replied the defendant.
“That’s no offense,” said the judge. “How early were you doing this shopping?”  “Before the store opened.”

I doubt that prisoner is going to get much of a vacation.  When most people read the title of this meditation they most likely thought of Chevy Chase and the movie by that same title.  But vacations have long been associated with the Christmas season.  In fact, the story itself in Luke 2 includes a vacation.  Sort of.

We often see pictures of Mary and Joseph tracking through the Judean plains on their way to Bethlehem.  This trip must have been far from a vacation.  Sometimes we see the picture of Mary riding on a donkey even though we have no proof of that for sure.  It does however present an interesting question.  “Why does Jesus have to be born in Bethlehem when he is going to grow up in Mary’s hometown of Nazareth anyway?”

The question will remain unanswered except for the fact that it was prophesied this way.  In Micah 5:2 it says, “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”

Luke 2 says this is where Joseph had to go register for the census so perhaps he owned some property in Bethlehem.  The Roman custom required everyone to register in each place they owned some property.  But whatever the case, the fact is God knew all along.  He knew that Mary would give birth while they were on this first Christmas vacation.

As you travel this week for Christmas, whether it be near or far, think about this first trip that started Christmas. Imagine what Mary and Joseph were feeling.  Imagine what challenges they must have had to overcome.  Then give thanks that God’s prophetic words were fulfilled that night in Bethlehem.  The Savior is born!  Your Savior is born!  His name is Jesus Christ the Lord!

Make it personal:  As you look at the manger scenes this week, try to put yourself in the shoes of Joseph and Mary.  Pray that God will give you that kind of committment to follow his call on your life and be obedient to his ways.  Life is not always easy, but neither was this trip to Bethlehem.

Have a Merry Christmas,
Glen Rhodes, Minister of Discipling
Arthur Mennonite Church