December 23, 2017

Saturday
Luke 2:1-5

The Ugly Preparations

As Christmas day approaches, let’s think back to Mary & Joseph’s experience and journey to Bethlehem. They were going there because of a Roman census.

Did the Roman government consider all the hardship they were creating by making everyone return to their hometown with this census decree? Did they not realize how difficult it would be for some to make that journey, especially someone expecting a baby? And what about the elderly? Could they have come up with any decree more inconvenient? Perhaps the Romans thought everyone was already living in their hometown. Maybe this was the simplest solution. Or maybe the inconvenience didn’t matter to them.

As Mary and Joseph journeyed to Bethlehem, did they think the baby would arrive while they were there? Did they expect Bethlehem to be so crowded that not even a room could be found for their stay? After searching and being told “no room,” do you think they were grateful to find shelter for the night, even though they were sharing a stable with animals?

Throughout December, we’ve been talking about an “ugly Christmas.” Imagine spending Christmas in a barn. We adorn our Christmas celebration in beautiful lights and glittery decorations. Take time to reflect on what that first Christmas was really like for Mary and Joseph.