We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Back to Bethlehem

Just like a preprogrammed clock, the question came every day.
"Is it Christmas yet?"
Written by Lillian Ewert, my wonderful mom, who did Christmas so well.

Our granddaughter, Elisabeth, age 3, anticipated something she could not remember experiencing. The Christmas tree, the pretty lights, and the wooden manger scene caused her excitement to mount with each passing day. 

Christmas finally dawned. The family gathering at our house always included a Christmas play presented by all the grandchildren, which I enjoyed directing. The adults provided the appreciative audience. However, changes had occurred over the years. Some of the grandchildren could not be there, and the adult audience had dwindled considerably. Elisabeth's teenage sisters no longer looked forward to wearing bathrobes and angel wings.

I wrestled with the idea of giving up the Christmas play but struggled to find a substitute to help us focus on the Savior's birth. As I watched Elisabeth at play, an idea began to stir in my thoughts.

"Elisabeth, would you like to be Mary and put Baby Jesus in the manger?" I asked.

Elisabeth's eyes lit up as she took my hand and we went into the bedroom to get ready. "Grammy, you be Joseph," she said.

I pinned a blanket around Elisabeth's shoulders and tied a scarf around her head. I placed the baby Jesus, wrapped in strips of cloth, into her arms, and together we stepped into the living room and slowly walked to the manger. Carefully she placed Baby Jesus in the bed of artificial straw. Mary and Joseph knelt beside the manger to admire the baby.

The family began to sing familiar Christmas carols previously taught by Elisabeth's mother. Sometimes the baby was picked up and gently rocked and placed back in the manger.

Elisabeth's eyes shone as she lived out the story that had become so familiar to her in recent days. It became obvious that she loved her role as Mary when she kept her costume on the rest of the day. 

As the day drew to a close, the adults remained at the table after dinner to talk while Elisabeth, who had been excused, played with her toys in the living room. Before long, I felt a tap on my shoulder and a little voice said, "Joseph, will you come back to Bethlehem with me?"

Back to Bethlehem. "A little child shall lead them" (Isaiah 11:6). 
So how do we come back to Bethlehem?

We find our way back to Kohl's, back to the grocery story, back to Amazon, and even back to church. But what about Bethlehem? How would you say we can be intentional about finding Bethlehem in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season?

O come, all ye faithful, joyful, and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem.
Come and adore Him, born the King of angels.
O come let us adore Him, Christ the Lord.   


  1. I love this! And I also love pondering the question how do I personally, go back to Bethlehem this Christmas? Thanks for the reminder.

  2. Thank you for sharing. Beautiful. Ah to be able to see clearly every day with the eyes and heart of a child.

  3. Love this, Sarah! Reading your blogs are like reading a devotion.