Christmas Travel by Clay Smith

I’ve always traveled at Christmas.  Growing up, it was going to Kissimmee to stay at Granny’s house with all the other cousins, trying to stay awake to hear Santa arrive.  I never made it.

After my mother married my step-father, our routine changed.  We did Christmas Eve with Pop’s mother, then we went to Pop’s first wife’s parents (I never could never understand why I didn’t get the same amount of presents as my step-brother and sister), then to Kissimmee, then on Christmas Evening we returned home to be ready for the day after Christmas.  In two days, we would cover over 300 miles on the highways of Central Florida.

The grandparents passed away and the journeys were modified.  There was still the Prescott gathering on Christmas Eve, but now we stayed at the ranch for Christmas morning before going to Kissimmee.

When I met Gina, everything changed.  We worked out that we would spend Thanksgiving with my family and Christmas with hers.  The December we got engaged, I drove from Kentucky to Gaffney, SC in a snow storm after conducting a midnight Christmas Eve service at the church I pastored. It was pretty romantic until I feel asleep at Christmas dinner.

When we moved to Sumter, our tradition changed again.  We would wake up Christmas morning to the delights of Santa, and then pack up and drive to Gaffney to have Christmas dinner.  The kids usually complained about trip but fell asleep on the way.  Even in their twenties, they still nap on the way to Gaffney on Christmas Day.

I know my travels are nothing compared to what some of you have experienced: traveling home from halfway around the world, praying there are no delays and hoping you make it home for Christmas.

Yet I think about the longest Christmas trip of all:  Jesus’ trip to earth.  Imagine living as an infinite being and then making the long trip into a womb as a single cell.  That’s how small Jesus was when he began.  It was a journey not to be measured in miles or hours, but in humility.

Jesus’ journey was not even about going home.  He made his trip to a hostile place.  It was the place he made, but the residents didn’t recognize him and wouldn’t welcome him.  If Jesus rated his trip on Trip Advisor, I would imagine he would give it zero stars.

But he came anyway.  He did the long trip of humility and rejection so we could have a different future, a different life –a new birth.  Given how far he came for us, does it seem such a big thing to follow him wherever he goes?

So this Christmas, while you are traveling, remember the trip Jesus made.  Tell him “thanks.”  Then ask, “So where are we going now?”

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