So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them (Luke 2).
ADVENT DAY-7: This morning we have awoken to a real North Carolina winter’s day. It’s 45-degrees and raining, already the high temp for the day and we are scheduled to experience a “wintery-mix” over the next 36-hours. Brrrr.
But our hearts are still warmed from Friday evening’s “Walk Through Bethlehem” experience at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church. It was the first of three nights, and we joined 1,100 other people who both heard and saw the story of the Good News, beautifully told.
12 TRIBES: Visitors are assigned to one of the twelve tribes (we toured with the tribe of Judah), and taken through an interactive drama in groups of 30.
The story is told in seven or eight segments. We ran into real sheep and goats. The Roman soldiers were alarmingly – and “in your face” – obnoxious. The angels provided a dramatic Wow Factor! Each member of the cast pulled of their role extremely convincingly. And – having recently travelled to Jerusalem – I can tell you that the hustle and bustle of the marketplace was authentic in every detail.
The card we were issued (along with the “shekel” coin we had to pay tax with along the journey) with our tribe’s name, also included information about our church along with service times and an invitation.
WITNESS: Finally, as we exited the village, one of the WFPC elders greeted us, thanked the crowd for coming, briefly stated the reason we go to such great lengths to share the gospel story, and gave a warm invitation to church.
As today’s “Advent Day 7” devotion, this story is my reminder to all of us that the Greatest Story Ever Told is fresh, vibrant, alive, and new every day.
God’s clear invitation is to Walk Through Bethlehem today, to wonder at the song of the angels, and to pause at the manger long enough to say “Yes” once again to Jesus, and to continue our journey with Christ as our companion and guide.
Hope, Peace, Love, Joy, and Promise – DEREK