We are halfway through December and it hardly seems possible. These short days rush by so fast but the legs of the nights with all their darkness seem to stretch out before us and stay a while. We’ve been finding time together to be one of the gifts of this season.
This weekend we braved to travel in time and journeyed through Bethlehem. One of our local churches has made it a tradition to re-create the little town of Bethlehem during the time of Jesus’s birth and so I got it in my mind we should go and see it. I imagined a leisurely stroll through rustic streets, shepherds and sheep loitering about. Things never seem to go the way I picture them in my mind.
One of the shepherds told us that 2300 people had come the night before and we were part of a great throng as we waited outside the city gates. We stood in line for an hour in temperatures that hovered at freezing. I texted a friend who was planning on meeting us there.
“There is a long line at Bethlehem tonight!” I said.
“It must be census time!”
From that point on, I saw through Mary’s eyes.
What must it have been like to travel so far, heavy with child, possibly moving through throngs of people; unable to find accommodations, when the first pangs of childbirth struck?
We walked through the streets of this new, make-believe Bethlehem, but I saw it with 2000-year-old eyes. The sheep baa-ed and the people milled about. There was scent of straw and animal lingering. We sampled wares from the bread makers and the wine shop and watched the blacksmith pound a red-hot piece of iron.
I was cold but how could that small bit of discomfort compare to the pains of a baby coming on? And in the midst of so many travelers—strangers, all.
My heart has been with Mary, that one with the beautiful heart. The one who had the courage to say, “Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.”
In this season of hustle and busy and hurry about, I sometimes complain. I complain about the crowds, I complain about the weather, I complain about the work set before me. I am praying that my eyes would be open to the greater things. I am praying, “Be it unto me…”
Every Monday I’ll be sharing one of my Playdates with God. I would love to hear about yours. It can be anything: outside, quiet time. Maybe it’s solitary. Maybe it’s loud and crowded. Just find Him. Be with Him. Grab my button at the bottom of the page and join us: