Today’s song is Long hard road by Larry Norman.
Down a long hard road
I’m travelling on
Down a long hard road
and I keep going, going, going, going
In our Advent stories we sometimes miss the journey of Mary and Joseph. Our children gently gallop around the church during their Nativity play and we tend to wrap the journey part of th
e story into the birth and in some ways it gets lost.
Even in a straight line Nazareth to Bethlehem is a distance of 80 miles and although we have by tradition placed Mary on a donkey to quote a Walt Disney film “I’m not in the book”. Heavily pregnant the journey would have taken the best part of a week. It would have been a dangerous journey even without Mary’s pregnancy.
Joseph and Mary travelled because they were compelled to by a decree, sometimes we are compelled to travel in our spiritual lives by our encounters with Jesus,
be that the baby in the manger, the teacher on the hillside or the risen Christ on the Emmaus road. We too are called by a royal decree to be his followers and to not only love him but also to love the rest of creation and in particular our neighbours near and far.
Sometimes that is a hard journey for us we feel unprepared, it looks too hard, we don’t know what we will find on the journey and we do not know how it will change us.
I hope our Advent journey this year has helped to prepare us, the journey may be hard but we will reach our destination and we will be changed for the better by it. We will become more Christ-like as we spread the love of God as we travel. At the end of our journeys we will come face to face with the King of kings, baby, man, risen Lord, our Saviour.
Luke 2: verses 1 – 5
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census
should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
And everyone went to their own town to register.
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.
He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
Prayers and Reflection
Hymn: Singing the Faith – – .Father I place into your hands.
“…And everyone went…”.
Let us pray together.
Think of the saying in order to understand context and meaning,
Feel the meaning of the saying with and in your heart,
Pray, using the saying, for yourself or others. With only a name and without explaining the reasons or pre-defining any answers.
Listen for God’s voice in the quiet of your prayers.
Pray using your own prayers or one of those which have been prepared below.
Lord as we near the end of our Advent journey may we remember that we always travel with you. Amen.
Father, give us that faith which enables us to ride out the difficult times, we pray that you will use those times to develop in each of us the work you would have us do next. Keep us faithful and focussed on you as we travel those difficult pathways. Amen
Loving God, as I travel with you may I find my sense of direction in you. May I never lose sight of the signs which keep me safetly on your pathway.
In difficult times may I draw even closer to you, let your arms of love surround me and help me step in your footsteps. Let me hear your words of encouragement and love so that I am not dismayed.
Build in me a strength of faith that will endure during good times and difficult times. Help me use my experiences of your loving presence to help others hear the Good News of your love for them.