A Christmas Journey

by David Hicks, CFDM Northwest Faculty

“Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, ‘Where is the one who has been born King of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship Him.” Matthew 2:1-2

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Travelling is a part of life. You may enjoy travelling, you may not, but we all travel. It’s built into the fabric of humanity. It’s how we all arrived where we are today, it’s how we will continue on into the future. Humanity is on the move. It always has been, it always will be.

As this advent season begins I am thinking a lot about this idea of travelling and journey. Journey lies at the heart of Christmas. The wise men journeyed from the east. The shepherds journeyed from their fields to the manger. Mary and Joseph journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem. Jesus journeyed “from heaven to earth come down”. The Jews themselves had been on a long journey ever since the call of Abraham, and even before. We cannot really understand the Christmas story without paying attention to this idea of journey. All of these journeys come together and find their focal point in a manger in Bethlehem. But this is not the end of the journey. The manger of Jesus is both destination and starting point.

Our journey brings us to the manger, but we don’t remain there. We eventually move on to places like Galilee and Samaria and Capernaum and Jerusalem and Golgotha. But these aren’t places we just visit once and move on. Our journey involves frequent trips back to these places both to remember as well as to see for the first time. We are brought back here because there are always new things to gain from them. Each time we are changed and sent on our way only to find ourselves back again at some point. And each time we come back we are different people, so we see these places and hear these stories differently. That’s the amazing power of advent. Each time we come here we are different. Our journey has taken us to new places and we have seen new things and then our journey brings us back again to the Christmas story and we see it differently because we are different.

There is no real destination to our journey. I know that goes against our very western mindset that every trip must end at some place. I mean that’s the purpose of a journey right, to go someplace? Not really. In our journey there is no ultimate destination. Even heaven, commonly thought of as our final destination, is not so much the end of our journey as it is the beginning of another, greater journey. The purpose of our journey is not to get someplace. The purpose of our journey is the journey itself because our ultimate destination is simply to be with Jesus. Walk with Him, rest with Him, BE with Him. Our journey is not about going someplace, it’s about being with Someone.

This Christmas season I am participating in a journey that has been going on for thousands of years, really ever since humanity first learned how to walk. Walking with Jesus I will see the sights, hear the sounds, experience anew the rough and raw humanity of Christmas. This Christmas is different because I am different. And I fully expect to leave this time different from the person I was when I got here. And so the journey continues.

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