I gingerly stepped over boxes for the umpteenth time to turn on the lights adorning our little Christmas tree, the clutter starting to get to me.
With our family gift exchange right around the corner, stacks of packages had made their way into our fifth wheel, taking up precious room in our 400 square feet of living area. Empty boxes the gifts had arrived in took up valuable floor and loft space while providing possible solutions to potential wrapping quandaries.
The additional accumulation provided fewer options for normal everyday items such as mail, groceries we didn’t have time to put away, and wallets and phones to hang out. This only added to our cluttered situation and robbed my peace.
Isn’t Christmas supposed to be a time of peace? And joy? Had I really let things steal my joy and the true meaning of Christmas?
Surge Gives Way to Simplicity
My thoughts wandered to the crowded city of Bethlehem in Judea. Our fifth wheel had filled with accumulated packages in anticipation of Christmas gift giving, much like the City of David had filled with people who needed to register for the census. That’s what compelled Mary and Joseph to travel 70 miles there from Galilee toward the end of her pregnancy.
The hustle and bustle of that crowded city prevented the couple from finding a normal, hospitable place for her to give birth. No vacancy forced Mary and Joseph to seek shelter in a most unusual location: a dirty, smelly stable of live animals.
Yet, those extraordinary circumstances led to the simple, humble birth of a king, who was wrapped in cloth and placed in a manger, or a feeding trough. God smiled down on his son in the form of a bright star that led shepherds to the stable to see this mysterious child, having been told about him by an angel.
A Matter of Focus
Back in the present with renewed joy, I made a point to focus on the true meaning of Christmas, despite the clutter in front of me. I knew that temporary state of chaos served a purpose to bring joy to others. It wasn’t meant to steal mine.
Before I knew it, our living quarters would be back to our acceptable and preferred norm, with minimized distractions and greater simplicity, making it easier to focus on the things that truly matter. That’s what the stable birth provided for Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds.
I’m grateful for this reminder about the importance of simplicity. I’m especially thankful for the humble, unceremonious birth we celebrate at Christmas time. Jesus came to Earth as a baby to make himself relatable to humankind.
May this mystery cause you to reflect on your life as you come to grips with the simple message of Immanuel, God with us.
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This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.