Isaiah 9:6 says:
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
We come to the journey Mary and Joseph made from Nazareth to Bethlehem, when Mary was “great with child.” This certainly was not a journey that Mary and Joseph wanted to take, but when the Roman emperor commanded that a census be taken, he wasn’t concerned about a Jewish family preparing to give birth. He was interested in assessing taxes.
Like Mary, all of us find ourselves forced to take journeys we do not wish to make. In the midst of them we may be disappointed; wonder if we’ve been abandoned by God; or simply feel confused as to why we’ve had to travel such roads. Perhaps Mary felt some of these same emotions on the journey to Bethlehem.
But here’s what we find in Scripture: God does not abandon us while we’re on these journeys. Somehow, in ways we never anticipated, he even works through them. We look back years later and can see how God took adversity, disappointment, and pain and used these very things to accomplish his purposes.
(Adapted from The Journey: A Season of Reflections, pp. 104-106)
During this season all around us people prepare for parties, dinners and presents. These events could distract us from the real reason for our anticipation. On the other hand, they also could prepare us; they could be the voice crying in a wilderness of materialism: “Prepare the way for the coming of what is really important.”
Rather than get lost in the wilderness of distractions, we will let the music and the lights make us sensitive to the voice that is even now calling our name.
In this moment, we will choose to be at peace with whom we are and where we are on this journey. We will let this time prepare us, and we will hear God’s call
to be those who prepare the world.
Loving God, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate
and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every gift and
good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clean hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.
(A Christmas Prayer, from We Hear the Angels, p. 47)
If you look back on your life so far, how has God brought you through rough journeys?
How are you spiritually preparing for Christ’s return?