Many folks are on the move at Christmastime. Families make all kinds of plans to get 'home' for Christmas. "We've just got to get home" motivates many folks to sacrifice their schedule, lay out extra cash to make special efforts 'get on the way' as soon as possible. This certainly was not what motivated Mary and Joseph to be 'on the move'.
As events for the first Christmas were unfolding, we see people on the move - traveling in various directions 'making the prophecies of old' come to pass Jeruslaem was alive with hundreds of Jews traveling back, under Herod's orders, to register for future taxation. Yes, the world was 'on the move'.
After the Angel of the Lord appeared to Mary and pronounced her eternal assignment - to be the mother of the Son of God, she was in disbelief! How can this be? And what will my parents think? Oh, what about Joseph; what shall I tell him? To whom can I turn and share this with - one that will believe me? Recalling the angel had told her of Elizabeth and Zechariah (too old to have children) would soon give birth to a son, Mary determined to go and visit them. Surely Elizabeth, living in the hill country of Judea - far away, would be one that would comfort and understand her plight. (Luke 1). After three months there, Mary again was on the move -going home to face 'whatever God had planned". (Mary wanted confirmation of what was happening in her life; Elizabeth would be one person she could trust).
Soon Mary and Joseph were on the move together - slowly making their way (along with many others) over the rugged countryside all the way from Nazereth down to Bethlehem. There they made their way to the place where Joseph was to register. Everyone was on the move it seemed. But it was different with Mary - she was very pregnant. "It will not be much longer now", she whispered to Joseph as he searched for a place for them to stay. Soon her baby was on "the move". (Some folks travel at Christmas due to circumstances they find surrounding them,like Mary and Joseph).
Action now shifts to the shepherds. When the angel appeared and spoke to them; they were anxious to 'go and see' for themselves this promised Messiah. They were on the move from the pastures outside of town to the cattle stall in Bethlehem. There they knelt and worshiped the newborn Babe. Soon, they were on the move again, this time "spreading the word concerning all they had experienced". (Some are on the road due to an urgency - we must go, see, do....we just must go)!
Later the Magi arrived. They had been on the long journey, following His star in the sky (announcing the birth of the "new King of the Jews"). After a time of worship and sharing gifts, the Magi returned to their home by a different route- going out of the way to avoid contact with Herod who wanted to kill Baby Jesus. (Some may need to travel 'to worship Jesus' - though the distance may be far or near - it doesn't matter, "they just need to touch Jesus in a special way").
Wherever you are this Season, plan to 'travel the distance that will take you directly to the Christ Child.' For some this might be miles on the road or in the air; for others it might 'be just a short distance....about 12-15 inches --from the head to the heart. (The knowledge of Jesus and his birth needs to be internalized into faith-action). Some may need to travel back to the Lord on their knees, where tears and prayers of confession, thanksgiving and forgiveness are mingled with whole-hearted commitments for the future. Wherever Christmas may lead us, may we be faithful to 'get up and move' toward Him.