Christmas Travels

BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1,2 NIV

Debbie and I find ourselves in an airport on this early Christmas evening; an unusual activity for us. Our son Christian and his family are all on a road trip traveling to Ohio. As Debbie and I returned from Columbus, Georgia on Friday our travel time was extended by about an hour and a half due to heavy holiday traffic.

It is interesting that from the time of the birth of Christ to the present day that traveling is a part of the celebration of the birth of Christ. The first Christmas found the shepherds on a much shorter journey to the stable where Christ was born. The wise men had a much longer and more challenging journey as they followed the star to the house where Christ was found.

Traveling comes with its own set of characteristics, dynamics and challenges. Trips are usually planned with some degree of anticipation. The trip from where we are to where we want to be can filled smooth or filled with unexpected challenges. The Atlanta airport the day after we arrived over a week ago experienced an electrical outage that cancelled over 1,000 flights! Over the years of many family road trips there are all kinds of memories from those various adventures.

Regardless of the journey, arriving is always exciting and it seems the “time flies” and the trip comes to an end sooner than anticipated. Then there is the journey back home. That brings a whole new set of dynamics and feelings as you “return home.” But with each visit to family or friends or special destination there are more memories that become a deposit in our “personal history bank.”

It is interesting to observe some of these common aspects in the lives of the early visitors to the Christ-child. Both the shepherds and the wise men traveled with a great sense of excitement and expectation. That motivation kept them moving forward in their effort.

While their visit was brief in relationship to their effort, they were not disappointed. The shepherds found Joseph, Mary and the baby, just as the angels told them. The wise men traveled home with a “lighter load” because they left behind some generous and magnificent gifts.

Both of these groups carried with them a life forever changed and memories to cherish and to share. The same can be said of our metaphoric “journey” into relationship with Jesus. We don’t take a physical journey, but one of faith and belief. It has often been viewed as a “twelve-inch journey.” The distance from our head to our heart. We move from knowing about to connecting with Jesus as our Savior and Lord.

It was special to see my oldest Georgia grandson make that “journey” on Christmas eve. He responded to the invitation at the end of the Sunday church service. It was interesting because later that evening he was asked if he, “invited Jesus into his heart.” He said, “no” – causing momentary confusion as he responded to the customary cliche describing faith in Christ. His response was, “I asked Jesus to be the Savior and Lord of my life.” I like that better!

When we do that we begin a journey not to Jesus, but with Jesus. A journey which can be as challenging, exciting, emotional and unpredictable as our actual trips we make in our life and especially during the holidays.

Enjoy all your travels and the journey!