In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. (Luke 2:1-5, ESV)
The very Son of God was born into this world. God became human. It was the biggest event in world history, and the people that stayed put missed it.
Notice first those that made it to the manger. Mary and Joseph had to travel all the way from Nazareth to Bethlehem. That’s about 90 miles, on foot, and Mary pregnant. The shepherds were away from home, out in the fields when the angels came, and then had to run into Bethlehem. Finally, a few years later, foreign wise men travelled from a far country, had to stop for directions along the way, and finally found the house in Bethlehem.
Notice who missed it. Caesar Augustus was home in Rome issuing decrees. Quirinius, the governor of Syria, apparently also had to stay close to the office with many important things to do. King Herod was too busy to come, even though he’s heard about the birth. The religious big-shots, ever loyal to Herod, stayed home and missed the miracle. (They probably had a committee meeting.) All the people that turned Mary and Joseph away and said “no room” missed the miracle that happened in their back yard. Maybe they were too busy shopping and putting up the tree.
It’s always more comfortable to stay put. You may know the story by heart. You may even, on an intellectual level, believe Jesus is the Son of God, the Savior of the world. It’s possible to know this truth, and still stay put, holding on to control of your life, filling your life with busyness and worldly things. When the only thing that matters is to come to the manger, surrender your life to Him, and worship Him as Lord of all.
If you want to meet Jesus personally, you have to leave home. Not physically, but spiritually. If you think you’re in a comfortable place with no need of a Savior, you’re kidding yourself. The road to Bethlehem – the road to Jesus Christ – is repentance and confession. Stop, turn, and move toward the Lord. Be honest about who you are, admit to Him that you cannot get your own life to the place you know you need to be. When we confess and repent, then our hearts are open to the forgiving grace of the Savior, the only one who can get us to the right place in life. You’ll never regret the trip.
Come, Lord Jesus! By your Holy Spirit, help me to walk away from my self-satisfied comfort. Make me restless until I rest in you. I confess my sin and my need. Reveal yourself to me in your written Word. Amen.