walking to Bethlehem with Jesus…

I’m relieved that I don’t have to make something out of Christmas.

Christmas already is something … all on its own … completely and wonderfully set apart from me. There’s nothing I can do or not do that will a

 

lter the truth of its glorious revelation. Bethlehem was and is and will always be God’s moment birthed God’s way.

The best I can do, the best we can do, is to do our level best at reflecting upon God’s moment in a way that honors the birthday of the King. All of us approach the manger with personal perspective. The baggage you carry with you is uniquely yours. The memories, the life experiences, the traditions, the sacred shaping of your yesterdays, all collectively gather together as luggage within your mind and heart as you make pilgrimage to Bethlehem this year.

Not all of us will celebrate in the same way, but all of us will have the opportunity to do so. To come to the manger and to rejoice, again, over the arrival of Jesus Christ in our lives. Bethlehem belongs to us every bit as much as it belonged to the original participants some 2000 years ago. Are we really so unlike Mother Mary? Haven’t I, haven’t you been given the same news and responsibility that she was given?

“‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.’” (Luke 1:35)
 
“‘ … what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.’” (Matthew 1:20-21)

That which is conceived in us, birthed in us, is from the Holy Spirit. Like Mary, we have been given the gift of the Christ Child to carry within us. Bethlehem becomes deeply personal for each one of us in that moment when God’s truth is revealed in our hearts and we accept his invitation to behold and to take hold of the baby in the manger. He is the something of Christmas—the One thing that will remain as truth, certainty, and surety in the midst of all the other unwrappings thrust upon us in this season. So…

No matter the week in front of you, no matter the checklists that are burdening you, fear not! He who is conceived in you… remains. He travels these days with you and only asks that, every now and again, you take a few minutes to pause, to pray, and to ponder the glorious truth of his companionship. God is not threatened by your need for celebration—by your tree, your gift-giving, your programs, and your parties. God is with you. God is with me. This is the joy of Bethlehem.

Emmanuel … God with us.

Light a candle or two in Christ’s honor this week and move forward with peace… Peace. It’s all good, friends. With Jesus, it’s all good. He is well-pleased to make pilgrimage with us. I’ll meet you at the manger. As always…

Peace for the journey,

18 Responses to walking to Bethlehem with Jesus…

  1. You are so right – there is nothing we can ever do to make Christmas what it is – I love that it is out of my control despite my attempts to "create" the Christmas Spirit, which is with us all year! Merry Christmas friend!

  2. Love the phrase you used: "With Jesus it's all good!" So very true Elaine!

    Merry Christmas!

    Marilyn

  3. Loved this post! So many good points and prospectives. Never thought of it that way before, but I really like what you said here…"That which is conceived in us, birthed in us, is from the Holy Spirit. Like Mary, we have been given the gift of the Christ Child to carry within us"..Soo true. And what a gift and privilege. With Jesus, it's all good…No better way to say it. Have a Merry Christmas Elaine, and a New Year full of His riches. HUGS, Debbie

  4. Emmanuel — God with us. How I love that truth! Also love how you said that Bethlehem belongs to us just as much as to the original recipients. Indeed, our hearts yearn for it. Yearn for Him!

    Merry, Merry Christmas, Elaine!

  5. The greates gift ever..Jesus. God with us1 How could we ever ask for more? Merry Christmas my sweet friend. Your words always touch my heart.

  6. We lit 19 candles tonight!(Making our way around the loop-de-loop). And there is something so special hearing God's Word read in the soft glow of the candlelight. (of course, when you blow them out, the smoke is an asthmatic's nightmare :)).

    I have been thinking of you and praying for you these past days, Faith Elaine. I pray this season has been so special for you. I can imagine after all you've been through how it changes the way you see. And I've always loved the way you see. Now you are just like the Hubble telescope, I think. I love that about you.

    I love you too :). Happy waiting. We are almost to the manger.

  7. Love love love this! Thank you. Your words, "He who is conceived in you . . . remains." really spoke to me. While at this season we remember the Christ child was conceived – we too have been conceived with Him. Love that visual. Blessings sweet friend. Merry Christmas to you!

  8. ♪♫*´¨)
    ¸.•´¸.•*´¨) ¸.•*¨)
    (¸.•´ (¸.•`♫♪♫ JOY TO YOUR WORLD ♪♫♪♫
    ELAINE

  9. I love this post. It has so many great truths in it. Like it's ok to celebrate each one of us in our own way and He will be in our midst. May you have a merry and God-blessed Christmas! Peggy

  10. Elaine,
    With Jesus, even the worst of times is good. When James died, I knew he was with the Lord and that all was well.

    I love coming to your blog to read and ponder and reflect with you as you praise God and His Son.

    Merry Christmas to you, sweet friend,
    Brenda

  11. Merry Christmas, dear friend! Whatever draws us to the manger… may we tarry there in hopeful anticipation… because our Salvation was born on Christmas Day.

  12. Elaine, for some reason, this Christmas God has literally *pressed* the name of Emmanuel on my heart. The song has been haunting me, the Truth of it causing me to ponder deeply the full implications of its meaning – GOD WITH US.

    It's an incredible thought – a thought that is seeping deeper and deeper into my soul. I am never, ever alone – because God isn't just WITH me, He is literally IN me. I am the manger where He has brought His gift of re-birth.

    Wonder of all, He is my friend, too.

    Wishing you and yours a very Merry CHRISTmas, and a blessed New Year full of a new awareness of His very present companionship.

    GOD BLESS!

  13. Loved this post, Elaine.

    I too am so relieved that I don't have to try so hard to make anything out of Christmas.

    It is a season that speaks for itself… and all I have to do is to let it change me, touch me, inspire me… in a deeper way this year than ever before.

    I agree with everything you have written… so beautifully.

    Love
    Lidia

  14. Lovely, Elaine!
    "Christmas already is something … all on its own … completely and wonderfully set apart from me. There’s nothing I can do or not do that will alter the truth of its glorious revelation. Bethlehem was and is and will always be God’s moment birthed God’s way."

    So beautifully said! As I sit here on the cusp of Christmas I have to remind myself that whether every gift gets purchased and every item on the to-do list is checked off Christmas will come nonetheless. And there was nothing I had to do in the first place! What an incredible gift Jesus is!

    Wishing you and your family an abundance of love, peace, hope and joy today, tomorrow and throughout the year.
    Love and prayers,
    Kelli

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