In the Hebrew bible we read how Abraham and Sarah, trusting in God’s promise, left their homeland to journey to the Land of Canaan.
We read how Moses and the people of Israel, fleeing from slavery in Egypt, journeyed for forty years in the wilderness of Sinai.
We read how Joshua, Moses’ successor, journeyed with his people across the Jordan River and into the “Promised Land”.
And we read how Ezra and the people of Israel, after a seventy year exile in Babylon, journeyed back to the Holy City of Jerusalem.
In the New Testament we read of similar journeys.
Jesus journeyed from his hometown of Nazareth to Jerusalem, where he died, was buried and rose from the dead.
Paul’s journeys (there were three of them) began in the Holy Land and ended in the Imperial City of Rome.
The Nativity story, the story of Christmas, is an account of several journeys.
Joseph and Mary journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem, and then, as Matthew tells the story, from Bethlehem to Egypt and eventually back to Nazareth again.
Angels, we are told, journeyed from the realms of glory to a shepherd’s field outside of Bethlehem.
The shepherds to whom the angels sang left their flocks by night to journey to the manger.
And the long journey of the Wise Men brought them from the distant East to Judea, first to King Herod, and eventually to the stall where the Christ Child lay.
So it is, from beginning to end, that the theme of journeying is very much a part of the scriptural story. It is part of our personal stories as well.
Individuals who consider themselves to be believers often describe their life as a journey both to and with God. The opposite is also true. Those who do not believe (especially those who used to believe but believe no longer), frequently describe their life as a journey away from God. Whichever it may be for you, I think you'll agree, it is common to speak of life as a journey!
(I am interested in your journey. If you haven’t done
so already, I invite you to share your story with me.)
My focus here is on another journey: GOD’S JOURNEY TO US.
In his best-selling book, The Jesus I Never Knew, Philip Yancey compares the humility of God’s journey to earth with a visit of Queen Elizabeth to the United States. Commenting on the contents of her luggage (four thousand pounds worth) and the cost of her journey (twenty million dollars) he contrasts her journey with God’s journey to us!
- God's journey began in a manger in a small, out of the way place.
- There were no attendants present, perhaps not even a midwife.
- Because there wasn’t a place for the newborn to be laid, they laid him in a feed trough.
- The event that divided our calendars into two parts, may have been witnessed by more animals than humans.