Though you have not seen Him, you love Him. Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory. — 1 Peter 1:8 ESV
The guardsman matches the picture to my face. He returns the passport, confirming if we’re Israeli we have correct permits for entry. What was mentioned in Micah 5:2 ESV as “too little,” is now a bustling city controlled by Palestine. We wind our way to the Church of the Nativity. It’s December 25th in Bethlehem.
Entering the church, thick incense hits my nose. It takes a moment for my eyes to adjust. Thousands move frantically, clamoring to climb down to the cave-like structure known as the Grotto. Traveling into the church recesses, there’s evidence of the tension between faiths for ownership of the Grotto. A silver star marks the spot believed to be where Jesus was born. It’s not what I expected. In the shoving and roar, a stillness comes over my heart. Matthew 28:6 ESV quietly reverberates, “He is not here.”
It’s been a few years since that experience. I’ve learned Christmas doesn’t have a zip code. We don’t worship a place, we worship a Person. Isaiah 9:6 MSG calls Him the Amazing Counselor, Strong God, Eternal Father, Prince of Wholeness. Christ is in us, so we take Christmas with us no matter the calendar date or our GPS coordinates. As followers, as family, of Jesus, our Christmas is eternal. So whether December 25 meets our expectations or otherwise, let’s celebrate that He came once, is coming again, and is here with us now.
Father, how do I even begin to express my gratitude of You sending Your Son to us? Jesus, You came for our good and our Father’s glory. Be honored by my Christmas celebration. I love You so! Amen.
What Christmas memories have brought you closer to Jesus?
Who can you point to Him in the ways you enjoy Christmas?