“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:14)
On December 2nd my friends took me on a long-awaited trek. Every year on the first Saturday in December the town of Bala hosts a “Trek to Bethlehem,” and I have wanted to go for the past 13 years. But because it has been too snowy, too cold, or both, I have not been able to go. My wheelchair does not go far in the snow.
This year was different. There was no snow and it was a balmy five degrees. This was my chance. So Elaine called to see if we could get in easily and early. The organizers were very helpful and even reserved a parking spot close to the venue. Elaine and Heather went in my van. (Heather drove as I cannot.) It took an hour to get there. We easily found our parking spot. Brian and Yvonne followed in their car. Brian also uses a wheelchair. So they joined us on this adventure. We were shown a side door where there were no steps. Heather bundled me up so I would not get cold. It’s harder to stay warm when you sit all the time.
As we waited for our group to go through the trek, we listened to choirs singing Christmas carols. When our group was called, we gathered with our leader, Rebecca, who led us through the streets of Bethlehem and kept us safe from the Roman solders. We saw travelers on a donkey, angels singing, Roman soldiers questioning our travels, sheep with shepherd. Our leader kept us on track and we had to stop at the tax collectors to pay our taxes and have our papers stamped.
The highlight for me was arriving at the stable, seeing Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus. It was simple, too cold a place for a baby to be born. It was stark and bare. My King and Savour, the God of the universe, born in a barn with animals, came to live then to die on a cross.
Jesus, thank you for coming to earth to save sinful people. I can never repay you but am very thankful you came.
I left with the awe of what Christmas is about.
“And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7).