The day has come Lord. Today I set out on my journey. I’ve made a commitment to walk the Advent way in the steps of Mary and Joseph as they travelled the road to Bethlehem.
As I pull the door closed behind me I am flooded with thoughts and feelings and I try to sort them out as I take my first steps along the way.
There’s wonder, amazement really, that this little story about a simple journey, taken so long ago by an obscure young Jewish couple should have come down the ages and still move us today. I am thankful for those through the centuries who recognised its significance, remembered, and passed it on and then, much later, wrote it down.
There’s anxiety as I leave. I can take so little with me – have to travel light – must leave behind the things that define me and make me feel safe – my home, my belongings, my routines, my family, my hiding places. I feel naked and vulnerable and alone despite the crowds of others making the journey. Who am I without all these props ? How will I cope along the way ?
God, help me to trust as Mary and Joseph did, that You will watch over and guide me ?
I wonder about the people I will meet along the way for there will be crowds of us making this pilgrimage. Help me, Lord, to reach out to them and to respond to their reaching out to me – especially the ones who may not be “my kind of people”. They may well have most to teach me I know.
Lord, as I settle into my stride, the sun shining on my head and the road stretching off into the distance, there’s a sense of adventure rising, an excitement as I think about what I might discover in unexpected places and friendships, new and old. Please God, keep me open to new discoveries, to having my ideas challenged, my certainties upended. my faith tested, perhaps changed, deepened.
Most of all I ask You Lord, to keep me true to my commitment to complete the Advent journey I begin today. I am somehow sure that, if I can follow faithfully in the way I’ve begun, I will eventually glimpse the light of the star shining steadily above a stable somewhere in Bethlehem. If I can complete this journey I sense that this Christmas will be richer, more meaningful, than those when the harsh sounds of cash registers, the canned carols and the busy- ness of making sure presents and food were “just right” sometimes crowded out the significance of the quiet stable and depth of Your love that it represents.