There are many powerful symbols of spiritual truth in the Christmas story, but one that has been especially poignant to me this Christmas is the journey. Think about it for a moment: Mary and Joseph journeyed from Nazareth to Bethlehem; the Wise Men journeyed from the East; and the Christ Child Himself journeyed from heaven to earth. Obvious enough, right, but what is the spiritual signficance in the journey?
I see at least 5 spiritual truths:
1. A divine destination – each journey resulted in a destination that connected God with man.
2. A deliverance – each journey brought the delivery of a gift. Mary and Joseph delivered Jesus; the Wise Men delivered valuable gifts in worship of the King; Jesus delivered Himself to the world.
3. Distractions – though the Bible doesn’t specify all of the distractions our travellers encountered, I’m sure there were many and some of them were probably quite dangerous. However, we do know that there were people seeking to kill Jesus and anyone connected with Him. We do know that Herod called the Wise Men in for an informal interrogation. To reach the destination all had to stay focused on their goal.
4. Disquiet of the soul – again, the Bible doesn’t specify all the ponderings of the heart that these 3 parties held within them. But being human myself, I can only imagine what doubts must have surged through their hearts, minds, and souls as they set forth and kept going. Mary and Joseph may have wondered if they were truly able to bear the Son of God. Perhaps they were fearful of the consequences if they were to make a mistake in their parenting of Him. The Wise Men may have questioned their sanity to be following a star into the wilderness. And Jesus? He knew the road that laid before Him and it was not a joyous one. Did He ever want to turn around? Perhaps.
5. Determination – despite the doubts, dangers, and distractions, our selected travellers set forth for their destination and did not turn back. They went through fearsome trials that we can only imagine and deep self-reflections that were only between them and God. But in the end, man met the Savior and the Savior delivered His beloved.
Next week I will bring the Christmas journey home to our hearts, but for the time being I hope you will be reflecting on the journey you are on right now. How are you reaching out to Jesus? I know that He is reaching out to you.