“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” says the Chinese proverb. Although there is much truth behind what is said, in my house long journeys often begin with a check to see if I’ve picked up my keys and wallet, or if we have the remembered the postcode of our destination, or, perhaps most importantly, whether we have all visited the toilet!
I wonder how you feel about departing on a long journey? I guess it depends on the reason you are travelling. A journey to see friends and relatives is often filled with joy at catching up and seeing loved ones. A journey to a holiday destination is filled with anticipation – what will you see, what will your accommodation be like and will the weather be good? A journey to drop a child at university may be filled with excitement mixed with a tinge of sadness. Yet all journeys begin in the same way, by setting out.
Over the Christmas season I have been wondering about the journeys made in the story we retold in a variety of ways. The journey Joseph and a heavily pregnant Mary took to Bethlehem, when it is safe to assume they didn’t sing “Little Donkey.” The shorter journey the shepherds made from their hills to visit the Christ child. The longer journey undertaken by the Magi, led by their study of the stars and journeying to an unknown destination. Then there is the second journey Mary and Joseph and the young Jesus took to Egypt to flee the wrath of Herod.
Each journey required the travellers to take a step, to go somewhere where they may not have chosen to go. I assume if you had asked each traveller to predict the journeys they would make a year before none of them would have predicted the ones they made – yet these journeys were so important and had such an impact.
A journey is often used as an image to describe what happens in our life. Shows such as X Factor are keen to tell us the journey the participants have been on. They tell of the high and lows of each singer until this point. I wonder what your journey has been like in the last year, and where the journey of the next year ahead will take you? It has been a privilege to share some of your journeys and I look forward to journeying with some of you in the next few months.
Going back to the Christmas story I realise that I have missed the most important journey of all. It is the journey that Jesus makes to live in our midst, reveal His love and to enable us to have a right relationship with Him. All the other journeys in the wonderful events of Christmas are defined by that amazing journey – of God coming to be amongst us.
If you would like to explore more about Christ’s journey at Christmas that changed history and discover his desire to journey with you this coming year, please get in touch.
I pray that each of us may know His presence and peace on our journey.