This Advent as we journey towards Christmas I thought we could think a little on the various journeys that were made at the first Christmas.
The first journey to pause and think about is the journey that Mary and Joseph made. They journeyed first to Bethlehem to be registered there because of the decree that Caesar Augustus issued. We read in Luke’s gospel:
“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed,[b] who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
This would not have been an easy journey, the road would have crowded with other people also going to Bethlehem, it would have been hot, dusty and Mary would have been tired and soon to give birth. They would not have had many possessions with them. Then when they arrived at Bethlehem they could not find a room to stay in.
Their next journey was a frightening one, we read in Matthew’s gospel
“Now when they (the wise men) had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” 14 And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt 15 and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”
Again not an easy journey to make, with a young baby this time. They fled not knowing what awaited them, they fled with little possessions. They made a journey from danger to safety, trusting in the Lord.
As we think about the preparations we are starting to make for Christmas let us also think about those today who are making journeys to safety. Let us remember those refugees who are fleeing for their lives, from places torn apart with war and destruction, refugees who are hoping for a safer life. They are fleeing with little or no possessions to a place they do not know, let us remember to pray for them this Advent season.