As I mentioned yesterday, I am going to spend several entries looking at Luke 2, and doing so from what may be a different perspective than is usually taken. For the first three entries I am going to examine the Dangerous Distractions that can interfere with our ability to stay focused on the true meaning of Christmas.
In verses 4 and 5 of Luke 2 we read that Joseph, along with his betrothed, Mary, had to travel to Bethlehem for the census which Caesar Augustus had ordered. As you know, Mary “was with child.” Despite her condition, she and Joseph had to travel approximately seventy miles over rough, mountainous terrain. Given their means of travel–likely on foot or riding a donkey–this would have been a particularly difficult journey for Mary. With the roads and vehicles that we have today, a 70 mile trip is no big deal. It would take slightly more than an hour, and the travelers would be inside of a vehicle, protected from the elements and able to stay warm. They could listen to music if they were so inclined, and enjoy a relatively hassle-free trip to their destination.
Today, of course, most people travel at Christmas because they want to, usually to be with friends or loved ones. Yet, the Distance to our Destination can still occupy our minds and distract us from the real meaning of Christmas. Think about your Christmas travels. I think it is safe to assume that you likely have asked yourself at least one of these questions:
* How far do we have to go?
* What time do we have to leave?
* How much traffic will there be?
* Will the weather interfere with our travel plans?
* How long will we have to wait at the airport?
* What if they lose our luggage?
These are but a few examples of the many things we spend time worrying about when it comes to Christmas travel–and I didn’t even mention every child’s favorite travel question: “Are we there yet?” When these matters become the focus of our attention they cause the message of Christmas to be pushed to the back of our minds–if we stop to think about it at all!
So this year, whether you are traveling 7, 70, 700 or even 7,000 miles, be sure to keep the message of Christmas in mind. Don’t let the Distance to your Destination and the many questions and concerns of travel interfere with what Christmas is all about.