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 2:4-7

When we sing O Little Town of Bethlehem, and think of how the first Christmas was, many of us recall the idyllic pictures we’ve seen on Christmas cards – the peaceful snow scenes, the family portraits of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus, shepherds worshiping by the manger where Jesus lay sleeping. For many of us these images represent what the spirit of Christmas should be like – a holy time. This is what we would like it to be.

And yet, it’s hard to find the peace that carols like It Came upon a Midnight Clear or Silent Night talk about. How we wish for it! Yet in the midst of Christmas clutter and busyness it’s very hard. What we experience is quite the opposite. We feel stress – not peace.  We long for a simpler time.

If we were to read Scripture carefully, we would realize that Bethlehem was crowded with people at the time Jesus was born. They were there for the same reason Joseph was called there, for the census that was taking place, requiring all who were from the town to register. You can imagine what a busy place it would have been. This is why Mary and Joseph could not find adequate accommodation.

Putting myself in Mary’s place, I’m hoping that the stable where Jesus was born might have been a comparatively peaceful spot. I’d hope that it might have been tucked away into a quieter corner of town, away from the hustle and bustle. But in spite of what the conditions were, Mary and Joseph must surely have felt God’s presence with them as they spent those first days with their very special baby.

How would we do with a newborn, camped in a stable in the midst of a busy town? How are we doing today in the midst of hectic Christmas preparations? Are we finding the peace we so need and hope for?

I’ve found that the best way to find peace – not only at Christmas, but any time – is to take the focus off our stress, off our difficulties and pain, and turn our eyes to Jesus instead. Healing will come. That’s what I’ve found and I believe you might as well.

Spend some time with Jesus. Consider all He means to you today and what He has meant to you in the past. Remember His love – there through even the worst times you’ve faced. Let Him fill your heart and soul, taking away all that might keep you from enjoying the celebration.

Turn your Eyes Upon Jesus is a song that describes how we can find God’s peace – the best kind of peace possible. Click on the link and enjoy:

I wish you a joyous Christmas – the blessings of Jesus within you.