BTTC Web JPEGGrowing up poor, our Christmases were never about going places. We stayed put and people came to us. We never traveled anywhere, no matter the season. A trip to the beach (half an hour away) was an annual event to which the whole church looked forward with great anticipation.

The rise of cities, the easy access to different modes of transportation, the expectation that we will all be home for Christmas — all these have contributed to the notion that Christmas is more about the buzz around the thing than the thing itself. And considering the amount of travel people will be doing over the next couple of weeks, you would be tempted to believe that the buzz is in the packing, the marvel is in the travel and the Christmas spirit is indeed in the air since 66% of travelers are flying this year instead of using an automobile or another means of transportation.

So once again we will pack our bags, fill our planes, keep the roads busy, tell our kids we are almost there for hundreds of times and make excuses to our parents as to why we can’t stay there long. For an outsider looking in, Christmas would appear to be more about getting there than actually being there.

While I will be one of those thousands of happy parents who will be able to be with his children on Christmas Day, I would like to remind everyone that the only trip that matters in connection with the Christmas story is the one that the King of the universe made to this lowly planet called earth. While this is so obvious to us, it is worth repeating: We travel to be home for Christmas, Jesus traveled so we could one day have a home in Christ.

Of all the travel surrounding the birth of the baby Jesus — Mary’s trip to visit her pregnant relative, Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary’s trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem, the wise men who came from the East, which could be modern-day Iran or even as far away as China, the angels who engaged in some amazing intergalactic travel, even the flight to Egypt — all of these pale in comparison to the journey the Creator of the universe took, from the bosom of the Father and the soothing presence of the Holy Spirit to a place replete with suffering, strife, selfishness and sin.

But it didn’t stop there. This journey was not merely a stopover; it was a permanent change of address, the most radical change of zip code ever done. John put it this way: “And ‘The Word’ became flesh and moved permanently to our neighborhood.” (John 1:14). There you have it. While many are always looking for an upgrade, Jesus got the mother of all downgrades — He took our skin to remove our sin; He traveled down below so we wouldn’t keep falling “belower.” This infamy that gave Him incarnation is the impetus that gives us justification and ensures our salvation. His humiliation causes us to share in His glory and the anticipation of this sharing is what I hope to keep lodged in the front lobe of my brain and in the core of my heart throughout this season. That’s what I will remind my family of when I read them the story of the Birth of Christ from the book of Luke on Christmas Day.

Merry Christmas, everyone. Don’t let the travel steer you away from the marvel.

 

Pastor Ivanildo C. Trindade
Lead Pastor, Grace Church, Lititz, PA

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