Luke 2 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register. 4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5 He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
Joseph and Mary, along with all the residents of Judea, were required to leave home and travel on what probably seemed to be a pointless journey. They went to "be counted" so that they could be registered to be taxed. To me, that sounds like traveling a great distance to sign up for a root canal or planning for weeks to have your house invaded by pests. I'm sure morale among the travelers was low.
What about your journey this year has felt like a chore? What aspects of the journey were long or painful? Which felt like you were being picked on? While I try not to be a complainer, I'm sure I could make you a list.
Now consider where Mary and Joseph were actually headed! Their journey was not random, thou hard and unwanted, the journey to Bethlehem took them to the city in which the prophets had foretold that the Messiah would be born. Thou I am sure Mary would have preferred her warm bed over the stable, somehow her ending up in the hay, and the Son of God in the manger, seems to convey more deeply the God who is eternally with us on every journey of life. The road to Bethlehem was not a chosen or pleasant one but it did, in unforeseen but miraculous ways, aline with God's eternal plan to meet Mary and Joseph there.
Consider your journey again this year. Especially those unexpected and difficult places which would not have chosen. Invite God to offer you some heavenly perspective. Did the unlikely turn, the bump in the road, or the tears at night, open up a space for God's peace, or wisdom, or love to be revealed? Did you discover along the unwanted way an opportunity to experience God, or to share God with another?
As advent presses on, consider your journey and invite God to give you eyes to see, and a heart to perceive where He has been "God with you" along the way. Pray that God will guide your journey forward leading you to places where you, like Mary and Joseph, can encounter the wonder of God's presence.
If you have a story to tell about where God has met you along the way this year, please send it as a reply to this e-mail and we will share it in an upcoming prayer e-mail.
May God surprise you along the way,
Pastor Scott & Pastor Jenny
Please keep in your prayers this week:
The town of New Market; that many hearts will be open to the testimony of "Back To Bethlehem"
Those who are recovering from surgery, illness, and hospitalization.
Those who are struggling to make ends meet during this high expectation season.
Those who are waiting for babies to be born.
Those who are grieving.