It’s that time of the year again when people start moving – by land and sea and air – to get to their families for Christmas. A quick look at the Christmas Story will tell you that this seasonal migration has been part of the deal since the very first Christmas.

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.

A mass movement of people like this might make more sense in Syria and Palestine (if the Israelis would let them), but in all fairness it makes as much sense in Ireland and Scotland as an ashtray on a motorbike. Didn’t Augustus consider that in Ireland it is bleakest winter at this time of year? Apparently not! Still, we have to all be on the move. We have to lock and bolt our homes, pray to God that they don’t get ransacked, and make the journey through the cold and blast to see people we have already made the conscious effort to live away from. Nothing of this makes sense, but – then – it is Christmas after all.


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