It’s easy to fixate on the future and forget the gift of now. Lately, I've been forgetful of what covid taught me — falling into the trap of figuring I can somehow magically plan exactly how I think things will go!
As the semester wraps up for part-time counselling study this year (which I’m very grateful for), I’ve found myself focusing on planning to get as many units of study done at once for next year and beyond. But, with prayer, time and reflection, I’ve realised that when discerning how many units to take on I was so fixated on finishing the qualification as quickly as possible that I had also forgotten about the journey. Thinking about the destination seems like catnip for my ego *hand to forehead*.
Now, as we move through advent I’m reminded to wait, to enjoy the journey and to not worry about the destination quite so much. When pondering a Christmas image I’ve been mindful of how Mary and Joseph could have felt on their journey to Bethlehem with their human and divine bun in the oven...
"In those days, Caesar Augustus published a decree ordering a census of the whole Roman world. The first census took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All the people were instructed to go back to the towns of their birth to register. And so Joseph went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to “the city of David”—Bethlehem, in Judea, because Joseph was of the house and lineage of David; he went to register with Mary, his espoused wife, who was pregnant." Luke 2:1-5.
There is debate surrounding the legitimacy of the census in Luke’s text. The Roman census likely occurred eleven or twelve years after the birth of Jesus. We won’t know for sure why it was included by Luke, but, we can understand that Joseph and Mary did make a decision to travel to Joseph’s home in Bethlehem.
Perhaps Luke is communicating that they were to follow the customs of the time. Perhaps they chose to travel to Bethlehem so Mary could be with Joseph's relatives and give birth surrounded by a lineage of love? Perhaps whatever the destination was to be in Jesus’ life, he would know love from the beginning of his journey?
Were they worried about what was to come?
Were they focusing on the journey or the destination?
Where am attracted in this image and why?
I hope this new interpretation image reminds us that our God of the journey is with us. I hope we can wait and journey together, always remembering that it’s not solely the destination, but the journey that leads to the fullness of life.
Happy Christmas and new year. Much love, prayer and advent joy.
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