In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.  All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David.  He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.  And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. -Luke 2:1-8

“It is the most wonderful time of the year”, croons the song on my radio. I find myself toe tapping and humming along as if this were a mandate of some sort. Most of the holiday season, I agree with this sentiment. However, we are intelligent and empathetic to know that the truth of these words are not true for everyone.
I wonder what Mary and Joseph thought that night when they found no room at the inn. How desperate and alone they must have felt. The weight of their decisions must have been heavy on their minds while the joy in their hearts must have felt like a holy tug-o-war.
Believe me, I have been guilty as the next person to revel in Christmas holiday frivolity. The tree trimming, and gift giving, the carols and cookies, even the egg-nog has brought me great joy. But the older I get, the more my soul craves the simplicity of a deeper connection to the story of Jesus; the more I connect with Advent and the season of waiting and walking in the dark.
As we near Christmas Day, my hope for you is that you set aside some time to wonder about the story. Read the second chapter of Luke, put yourself into the story and imagine the night and time that Jesus was born and what it has meant for the world, for our community and for us. Does the Christmas story bring new life into your heart? My wish for you this Christmas is that the gifts of Hope, Peace, Joy and Love are yours in abundance, so that you have no choice but to share them with others.
Merry Christmas!

-Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at, on Facebook or at