Devotion and Prayer for Week of December 18, 2011

Meditation for the week beginning December 18, 2011


Heading to Bethlehem.


Here we are the week before Christmas and hopefully most of us are done with our preparations.  We have bought whatever presents we need, mailed our cards and put up whatever decorations we want in our units.  And now we are just waiting.

Think back to what took place over 2000 years ago and put yourself in place of Joseph and Mary.  They are headed off from Nazareth and on their way to Bethlehem.  Have you ever wondered what it must have been like for this couple to make that journey down from Nazareth to Bethlehem?  It was no easy trip that would take several days. Being 9 months pregnant, it was not going to be fun for Mary, as she would be walking or bouncing around on the back of a donkey.  (Donkeys did not have shock absorbers or springs to allow for a smooth ride.)

Think about the last time you set off for a weeklong trip somewhere.  Do you remember the preparations?  First there was the thinking about weather, climate and what activities you would be doing on the trip.  Next what clothes needed to be cleaned and packed before the trip.  Then how would we go on the trip; fly, drive or maybe take the train?  Would we need to make reservations at a motel along the way?  And where would we be staying once we arrived at our destination; have we got the reservation?

Think about if you were taking a road trip by car, there was always the moment when it was time to pack the car.  Usually it looks like we are taking half of our house with us.  There are the suitcases, the cooler and bag of snacks in case we get hungry along the way.  Then there is our own pillow because we can’t just sleep on any old pillow.  And of course there are the books, games, and stuff we take so we don’t get bored along the way.  You probably remember these things and even more that were unique to you and your family when you planned a trip.

But, let’s return to Mary and Joseph.  They didn’t have much stuff.  They hadn’t really had much of a chance to set up a household before this trip to Nazareth came up, so there wasn’t all that much stuff to take. It was hard to pack too much on the donkey, especially if Mary was going to ride on the donkey.  They probably packed some blankets for sleeping, because there were not motels along the way and they might end up having to camp.  They didn’t bring a lot of food; they would try to buy or find food along the way. And they knew there would be other people going because everyone had to go and register for the census.  All in all this was not going to be a fun trip.

Yet this was what God had planned for this young couple and the birth of His Son.  God’s plans came first and interrupted the plans that Mary and Joseph had for their life. So, too, God comes and directs and changes our lives also.   God at times calls us to make a trip for him, to accomplish his purposes.  Come with us this week as we go to Bethlehem!

Join us for our Christmas Eve Service.

Weekly Prayer

 Lord God, you call us to be Your children.  At this time of year we all remember our childhood and the special memories of Christmas’ past.  Help us to always be eager to celebrate Your coming in our lives.  May we always be ready to journey with and for You, letting Your will be our wills.  Amen.