One of Isaiah’s prophecies is reframed in Luke’s gospel and relates to the ministry of John the Baptist, the messenger of Messiah:
Get the road ready for the Lord, make a straight way for him to travel!
Every valley must be lifted up, every hill and mountain levelled off.
The winding roads must be made straight
and the rough roads must be made smooth. (Luke 3: 4-5, Isaiah 40: 3-5).
This text makes me think of the incredible travels that people in Israel must have experienced as everyone had to return to their hometown for the population census demanded by Rome. Taxes would be based on its recorded numbers. Winding roads made straight would greatly alleviate travel times. So many more travelers than just Mary and Joseph were flooding the roads. No wonder there was no room for them in the small village of Bethlehem.
The journey from Mary’s hometown of Nazareth to Joseph’s birthplace in Bethlehem is some 157 km and could have taken 8-10 long days of walking. And although the Christian church celebrates the birth in December it is more likely that this journey occurred in the oppressive heat of July or August for a birth in September. A scary journey for a young pregnant woman and her betrothed.
They say you can never really go back home once you leave. I experience this when visiting my Mother and siblings in Ontario. The neighbourhood of my youth has changed so much. In fact life reminds us that change is like a river flowing and constantly moving.
The journey to Bethlehem, that of the shepherds, the magi, traveling to the Temple in Jerusalem, to Egypt as refugees and later to Nazareth: there is much movement behind the stories of Christmas.
My home of 23 years has sold. Despite my impatience it has happened at a good time.
There is much to do before I leave on vacation January 14. And much reorganization, packing as well as confirming a purchase and an eventual move. I enter into this Christmas differently as it will be my last in this house. Many have moved before me and many will in this new year 2019. Change is the constant and resistance is not helpful. When it is time, it is the time.
It was the time for Jesus’ birth, and everything aligned for this Miracle Child, even the stars.
Thank you for your prayers and support these last weeks. The sale of my house opens up new possibilities: a different kind of journey and different future, a new garden and home. I live this change with gratitude and trust that everything works together for the best.
May the God who watched over Mary and Joseph on their journey and who aligned the time and season perfectly, lead each of us to Bethlehem and new birth.
And this blessing:
May the eagerness of the shepherds
the joy of the angels,
the perseverance of the Magi,
the faithfulness of Joseph and Mary,
and the peace of the Christ child,
be yours this Christmas! (Celebrate God’s Presence)
Que ce Noël soit pour chacun de nous,
un occasion d’aller
au-delà de la simple raison et de nous émerveiller;
de laisser notre äme accepter le miracle, même sans le comprendre,
et de nous abandonner totalement au pouvoir
du Bébé de Bethléem!
A blessed Christmas, Un Noël béni.