Are You Ready for Bethlehem?

Are You Ready for Bethlehem?

I read somewhere that rolls of papyrus were sometimes up to 33 feet long. Mary could have made some pretty looong lists for her trip to Bethlehem, but I’m guessing hers was pretty simple:






Dried fruit


Olive oil


Extra tunic

Sleeping mats

Swaddling bands

Square cloth


(Two thousand years ago, when a baby was born, he was first washed then laid diagonally on a piece of cloth about a square yard in size. Then his body was sprinkled and gently rubbed with finely powdered salt to help cleanse and prevent rashes. After that he’d be wrapped in a cotton or linen swaddling band.)

Let’s imagine God chose the year 2016 for his Son’s birth. First, it’s hard to imagine He’d find a young woman so sweetly obedient. Can you imagine any of the teens you know answering Gabriel with, “I am the Lord’s servant”? And if this modern-day Mary did, what would the packing list for her 80-mile journey look like? Maybe something like this:


Sleeping bag

Sleeping pad

Nalgene bottles

Mole skin

Water purifier



Day pack

Duct tape



First Aid kit

Fleece jacket

Rain suit

Wind suit

Zip-off maternity pants

Synthetic underwear

Liner socks

Wool socks

Hiking boots




Sun screen




Emergency radio

Satellite phone


Trail mix



Dehydrated milk

Dehydrated eggs

Dehydrated chili, mac and cheese, beef stew, chicken ala king…

Dehydrated blueberry cheesecake, raspberry crumble, and ice cream sandwiches.

Inflatable tub

2 Plastic-backed sheets

6 Packets of sterile lubrication

2-Plastic cord clamps

1-Paper tape measure

12-Alcohol prep pads

12-Sterile 4×4 gauze pads

1-Bulb syringe

3-Pairs sterile gloves

Cotton cap

Newborn diapers


Wipe warmer




baby oil

baby wash

baby shampoo, lotion, powder…

Receiving blankets

Changing pad

Burp cloths


Nursing cape


Camera to record the birth

Birth announcements

We do complicate things, don’t we?

We know little of Mary’s emotional baggage. I’m sure there was fear—scripture says she was “greatly troubled” at the angel’s words. And we know she asked, “How will this be since I am a virgin?” But after that, what do we read? She said, “May it be to me as you have said.” Soon after, she sang those beautiful words beginning with “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”

She brought faith on her journey. And hope. And praise.

What are we packing for our journey to Christmas? What can we do this year to simplify? Can we take some hurry out of our packs and add some joy? Can we leave some to-dos behind but load up on worship?

I had some fun with this post, but I’d really love to hear your ideas for paring down and not over-packing the season with things we can really get along without. Merry Christmas!


Becky Melby About Becky Melby

Wisconsin resident Becky Melby is the author of the Lost Sanctuary Series and a dozen other contemporary fiction titles. Married for 43 years, mother of four, grandmother to fifteen, Becky thrives on writing, reading, camping, rides on the back of a silver Gold Wing, and time with family. Connect with her at her website or Facebook.


  1. I don’t know about packing, but I have really reduced the number of Christmas cards I send and it has helped me feel more calm. LOL I would get stressed, write detailed letters in each one, and finally my husband told me it was a trap and I should just quit it. I did, now just sending a couple, and I feel more focused on other things. Which is good.

    I’ve also relaxed about preparing Christmas meals and having everything “perfect.” Oh, and I used to put out 12 Christmas trees! They were all over the house. Now I have two: our regular tree and of course, a Packer tree. 🙂

  2. TWELVE Christmas trees?? That sound so beautiful and so exhausting! At least you kept the right ones!

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