In a few short days, we will be celebrating the miracle in Bethlehem. I sometimes think that we constantly have our eye on the end event and forget the journey that gets us there. In the reflection book I am using, REJOICE!, They speak of the events that lead up to the promise and miracle of Bethlehem. So, let’s look at some of them that lead us to the hidden stable of Bethlehem…
Mary’s Annunciation: It all began here! What a different story of salvation we would have had not Mary proclaimed her YES. There were lots of unknowns, and yet she heard God’s call and responded. It can be really scary. Have you ever found yourself in this place, being asked or called to something that has lots of unknowns? What is your response?
The Visitation: Mary couldn’t wait to share the ‘good news’ with Elizabeth, and also help her rejoice in her blessed state. She was going to minister to Elizabeth. Am I willing to celebrate someone else’s success and share mine joyfully? What stops me if I can’t, is it jealousy, pride…?
Joseph’s Annunciation: We sometimes forget that Joseph also experienced an Annunciation. It came at a time when Joseph was full of doubt and struggling with his relationship with Mary and God. Surprisingly, God met joseph where he was during his struggle. We need to remember that God meets us where we are and not where we think we should be. God loves us so much that after He meets us there, He moves us forward. Do I think I need to be perfect to present myself before God? What prevents me from believing God loves me as I am and calls me to growth and greatness?
The Census: God certainly has a clever plan, and it always brings things together. A census… why a census? The fascinating thing about the Advent story is that it is FULL OF SURPRISES! Just when Joseph and Mary thought they had mastered the last surprise, here comes the census. Another surprise to adjust to. God is the God of Surprises, and He uses the surprises for His glory. How do we deal with the surprises that catch us off guard? They can bring out the best and worst of us. Sometimes we need to step back and just breathe. Easier said then done. The key is to stay in relationship with God and ask Him what He is doing in your life.
The Pilgrimage: Life is Hard, there is no doubt about it! For Joseph and Mary, who had been facing each surprise with a positive attitude, the journey of the trip to Bethlehem almost seemed to be the last straw. This trip of 90 miles was complicated by Joseph’s lack of means and Mary’s delivery date close at hand. Could things get any harder? But God wanted to enter real life, and life is hard. The message is that He is with us especially in the hard times: Emmanuel -- God with us!
The Inn: NO ROOM! Can this be? The Savior needs to be born in a special place. Although there was no room for them in the usual places, we know God provided -- more to come on that! No room at the Inn; what about in our hearts? After most of this Advent has passed, have I found room for the Holy Family? Christ wants to be born in my heart. What things can I do to make room in my heart for Jesus? I am sure you can come up with a few ideas!
I have given you lots to think about before we reach the miracle of Christmas. May your week be filled with a Surprising Journey!
Till next week,