Christmas is about gifts and our new grandson is one of the best! We had to travel out to Portugal though to see him. Why Portugal? For the obvious reason that my daughter-in-law is Portuguese. She could be in her own country to give birth with her mother nearby. A good enough reason. We enjoyed holding our new grandson and enjoying balmier temperatures than here in the UK.
It puts me in mind though of another story a long time ago, of a couple who travelled away from their family and home village, which must have been rather more scary. Joseph, the stepfather of Jesus (his actual father was God) had to make the trip to Bethlehem in order to fill out his family census – we have all had to do a similar thing here recently. At least these days its all online, but not back then. In those days you had to travel to the place of your family line. Joseph’s family line was that of David and David’s line came from Bethlehem. Perhaps Mary was hoping that she and Joseph could get there and back before the baby was born? But no. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and not in very salubrious conditions either, in some kind of animal stall, or maybe just where the animals would be kept in the house basement. Nonetheless, a very special baby.
As you hear or sing Christmas carols this year, spend sometime to thing about the baby Jesus who was born to an unmarried teenage mother in very ordinary conditions to a very ordinary family. Puts a bit of a different colour to the story doesn’t it? Happy Christmas and Happy New Year to all my friends and followers.