In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2 (This was the first census that took place while[a] Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3 And everyone went to their own town to register.
4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.
Journeys are a significant aspect of the Christmas story. The bible reading above shows that Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem as a result of a political decree. We are told that everyone went to their own town to register. If that was me I would have to travel to Wallasey in Merseyside to register, a journey of 273 miles according to Google maps. Nazareth to Bethlehem today is a journey of 98 miles and in Joseph and Marys time there was no Google maps, sat nav or indeed motorised transport, so the journey would have taken approximately one week to complete on foot. That’s a long way and it’s not an easy route.
During Advent this year our theme at Plume Avenue will be Journeys. We’ve chosen that theme because much of what happens in the Christmas story involves journeys but also so much of modern life involves journeys.
Journeys can be mundane, they don’t have to be spectacular, they can be frightening, they can be exciting, they can be made for business, pleasure or just because journeys are a day to day aspect of life.
Journeys require preparation and I’m sure Joseph and Mary would not have simply set off to Bethlehem without making plans and getting themselves suitably prepared.
So I wonder what preparation you will do this year for your journey towards Christmas? Buy the presents, tick, arrange the lunch, tick, buy the advent calendars tick, visit your long lost aunt, tick.
What part will God play in your journey to Christmas this year?
I’d like to encourage you this year to take time out to consider why we celebrate Christmas. You may even like to come to one of the many Christmas services at Plume. You would be most welcome. Take time to stop and consider the God who came from heaven to earth in the form of Jesus purely because he is the God who cares.
I wish you a peace filled Christmas. May you know the love of the one who came to earth to show us the way.