Making The Pilgrimage To Bethlehem

December 3, 2001
by Anne Russell

Luke 2:8-14 – And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (KJV)

While raising a family of our own, we used to prepare for Christmas in many ways. Each year, we would unpack the Christmas lights and ornaments. Best of all was a nativity scene, given to us years before. With our two children at my side, we would unfold the packaging. First was the stable that held a light, which represented the Star of David.

Inside were the figures that had been carefully stored away the year before. One by one, we took them out and, as we reconstructed the scene, I told the children the Christmas story: how Mary and Joseph came to Bethlehem in search of a place for Mary to have her baby, how she laid him in a manger, and called him Jesus. The figure of the donkey that carried Mary was placed outside. The cattle stood by, as the star drew over the stable. The three wise men came with their gifts.

The children always waited for me, since I couldn't possibly put the nativity scene together without telling the story. When the children married and left to make a home for themselves, it was never quite the same. Today, many years have passed since I stopped assembling that scene, but the children, now with families of their own, have never forgotten that time we spent together. It was special, most of all for me, and, as I tell you, it brings tears, and memories of the teaching tools that were special in our home at Christmas, and that helped us make the pilgrimage to Bethlehem.

Prayer: Dear Lord, as we come to You at this special time of year, we give thanks for time spent in love, passing on the story of Christmas to our children. We thank you for memories of joy brought to us at this time of the birth of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, in whose name we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Anne Russell <anbrussell@rogers.com>
Brampton, Ontario, Canada

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