Proverbs 5:21 – For a man's ways are in full view of the Lord and he examines all his paths. (NIV)
The story of Christ's birth is probably one of the most touching stories ever told — a young and very pregnant woman journeying by donkey and foot to a town far away, only to be met by closed doors and the imminent birth of her child in a stable.
I think of Joseph and his frustration and concern for his burdened wife and their plight. How desperate he must have felt being unable to secure a private and warm accommodation for her, in which to give birth. How his heart must have beat as her time drew near and there was only hay and cattle as their helpmates. God was there, to be sure, and though they did not understand completely, this was all part of His wonderful, infinite plan. He knew their hearts and minds were right with Him and that was all they would need to welcome this, His Son, into the world. Still they must have wondered just what on earth He was up to!
Their child, the Son of God, was born, and all heaven cried out for joy, but very few on earth were even aware of the miracle within the barn that night.
Today we once again prepare to journey forth to Bethlehem. We bake, we make, we shop and carry. We arrange and maybe pack, decorate or generally join in upon the festivities. Santa packs his bag and hollers, "Ho, Ho, Ho!" and all the heavenly hosts might still sing, "Hallelujah to the newborn King!" As we rush through to be prepared for this our yearly pilgrimage, I wonder, however, if we've checked the road on which we travel, or if we know why it is we go at all.
Mary and Joseph went to Bethlehem because it was decreed. We go because it's what we've always done. When the labour pains begin in full, though, and the Spirit of Christmas demands its birth, is there room in our inn?
Are our hearts and minds right before God as were Mary and Joseph's? Or does God in heaven look around and wonder what on earth we're up to?
- Thou didst leave Thy throne
And Thy kingly crown
When Thou camest to earth for me,
But in Bethlehem's home
Was there found no room
For Thy holy nativity:
O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee!