December can be filled with a lot of traveling. Some take vacations at exotic, faraway destinations. Adult children go home to see their parents. Relatives and friends come for a visit.

But this Christmas, would you take a 90-mile road trip by foot down dangerous mountain roads? Would you travel to a place where all the 5-star hotels (and 1- to 4-stars, too) were fully booked? Would you still make the journey if your wife was about to give birth to your first child?

For one young couple, there was no choice about their difficult journey. Mary and Joseph were compelled by law to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem—easily 4 days of travel time (Luke 2:2-6).

Bethlehem was the burial place of Rachel—wife of Jacob. The love story of Boaz and Ruth took place here. Besides being also the hometown of David, Israel’s greatest king, there isn’t much more about this little village that’s really worth discussing. In fact, Bethlehem is well-known because of its insignificance. It’s famous for being the least of all villages in Judea (Matthew 2:6).

But on that special night long ago, something of cosmic and eternal significance occurred in the little town of Bethlehem. “While they were there, . . . [Mary] gave birth to her first child, a son” (Luke 2:6-7). The prophet Micah spoke of this birth hundreds of years before. “You, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village among all the people of Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel, whose origins are in the distant past, will come from you on my behalf” (Micah 5:2).

One other thing about Bethlehem—it means “house of bread.” So it’s fitting that this was the birthplace of Jesus, the Bread of Life (John 6:35). His journey to earth has made all the difference.

NLT 365-day reading plan passage for today: 2 Peter 1:2-21