December 23, O Emmanuel, our king and Lord, the anointed for the nations and their Savior: Come save us, O Lord our God.
The prayer for Christmas Eve eve calls for God With Us to come and be God with us as king, ruler and anointed savior. That’s a lot to ask of the baby Mary carries in her womb as they arrive in Bethlehem.
Over 107 million people will travel this weekend, by air, rail and auto. But none will travel on foot or perhaps a donkey. We know nothing about Joseph and Mary’s more than 70 – mile trek. From Nazareth in Galilee they traveled south along the Jordan route to Jericho. After leaving Jericho, they faced a fifteen mile up hill climb along a winding and narrow road to Jerusalem. At the Mount of Olives they reached the summit and looked down on the temple gleaming from across the Kidron valley. But they weren’t done yet, it’s another six miles to Bethlehem, David’s city. You know how it is. You get to a spot and figure you’re almost there, only to realize you have another two hours to go.
Thirty – three years later God With Us would again make the same journey. He would look down at the gleaming gold – plated temple and mourn its coming destruction. This time he would not lie in manger bed, but be enthroned on a cross where he would be established as king and ruler, the Savior, which is what he became to be.