“Joseph went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem… He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” (Luke 2:4 & 5)
Christmas, as we all know, is the time of the year where many people travel a long distance to celebrate the season with family and friends. But the theme of travelling far from home, as we see in Luke’s Gospel, is nothing new. Luke tells us that Joseph and Mary had to travel to Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus. It was a journey of approximately 100 kilometres which in those days was quite a long trip. Though we do not exactly know how they travelled, Christmas cards depict Mary riding a donkey for this long and hazardous journey, especially for a woman nearing the end of her pregnancy. Unknown to them the Wisemen too were travelling at the same time. At the same time God, too, was travelling, breaking into our physical dimension of time and space through incarnation. The Son of God journeying to become the Son of Humanity (man). Yes, the Christmas story is a story of many journeys. But the important thing is to remember that the people who journeyed to Bethlehem experienced God as they journeyed.
What is our experience, as we travel from or to Kimberley, this Christmas? Are we journeying with and for God or is it just a holiday season?
Whether we travel or not, we have heard it said that “Life is a journey”. Quite sadly, many people journey alone, not knowing that God is with them. As a faith community, it is important that we recognize and share that God in Jesus as “Emmanuel” travels with us and not me alone. For the Journey to Bethlehem (House of Bread) is to be with those who are homeless, poor, marginalized and hungry and Christmas in our context invites us to take that journey.
Many times we focus too much on the end of the journey and thus miss the beauty of journeying with God and experiencing God in all the ups and downs of life. Someone said, “it matters to have an end to the journey, but it is the journey that matters at the end.”
Siblings in Christ, as Ida and I look forward to our long journey to India to be with our daughters and our sons-in-love and, also, to celebrate our nephew’s wedding and meet many friends and family after a long time, we request of you your prayers. At the same time we wish all of you a safe and comfortable journey to Bethlehem through the season of Advent to Christmas and then to the New Year. May this journey with God help us, as a poet said, “find our kneeling places” as a shared ministry.
Have a Blessed, Joyous and Meaningful Christmas.