The question posed is, “Where did Christmas begin?” Have you ever stopped to think about this, and I mean really think about where it all started?
Recently, I told the story about our last trip to Bethlehem. It was far less than you may have expected, or even more, just depending on how you may have observed it that day. It was a busy day at The Church of the Nativity. The lines were long, and the tourists were agitated because just to descend into the grotto took 2.5 hours. A man got too close to a woman who probably thought he was trying to pick her pocket in such a Holy Place. In her defense, she took her umbrella and began to give the man a proper beating, to which he was pleading no contest.
It was more than likely the kind of crowd that was pressing around Jesus when he healed the woman with the issue of blood. Tempers were tense, and people were complaining in several different languages, and God understood them all.
Finally, we arrived at the place commemorating His birth. The drama, however, was not over because a Tour Guide came bringing a large tour from Iran down the exit to cut in line. That was a big mistake because the Tour Guide in front of our group did not take the intrusion well at all. He had a baseball bat in his hand that he used to identify his group. It became a weapon, and he drove the Iranian guide and his group straight back up the exit like a shepherd defending his flock.
The final scene in the drama was that one lady in our group crossed her legs in The Church of Nativity, which was not acceptable to one of the curate priests. He scolded her angrily for her immodesty, and we were left wondering what happened.
What is the moral of this incredible drama that was played out on our visit to The Church of the Nativity? It is easy to see! You can be in a Most Holy Place and still not be changed by what it represents.
So I ask, “Where did Advent really start in the first place?”. It did not start in Bethlehem, but it did start in the heart of God the Father, and it is celebrated best when Christ is born in your heart.