Friday, January 11, 2019
By Rev Angela C Bosfield Palacious
The story of our Lord is one of a family on the move. This is the story of so many people at this time but we will get back to this in a few moments:
His mother travels to see her cousin Elizabeth to share the experience of being mother-in-waiting whose babies will change the world. They both have personal encounters with the Holy Spirit, and we as we read their story we are invited to be open to such moments for ourselves: “At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.” (Luke 1: 39-41) . There is so much that God wants to do in our lives if we will allow it to happen.
His parents have to travel to Bethlehem to register for the census. Even though Mary is pregnant, she must ride a donkey to get there: “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.” (Luke 2: 4-5 NIV). We do not know details of this journey but we can easily imagine the physical details and some of emotions involved. We are called to trust God even when our well-laid plans are replaced by unexpected adventures.
Shepherds come to visit the baby in the stable before returning to their sheep on the hills, but by the time the magi arrive, the holy family is situated in a house in Bethlehem. They have not travelled back home, settling in Bethlehem at least for a time: “When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” (Luke 2:15 NIV).
When word comes to Joseph from God that Herod wants to kill the Christ Child, he leaves immediately for Egypt. Once again, the family is on the move, like refugees around the world today, they are trying to escape violence, wickedness, and power hungry politicians. Because the magi do not return to Herod with precise directions, he decides to kill all children under the age of two. It is a senseless slaughter as this newborn King is no threat to him personally, at least not as he envisages. This episode serves to remind us to seek peace and pursue it.
Later on, the family goes back to Nazareth: “When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.” (Luke 2: 39-40). There is a quiet home life that follows for several years. Let us pray for each child to be raised in a loving and godly home.
Once again, we read of the family journeying to Jerusalem in order to follow Jewish custom: Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem for the Festival of the Passover. When he was twelve years old, they went up to the festival, according to the custom. How faithful are you in providing a firm spiritual foundation for successive generations?
The ministry of our Lord is that of an itinerant preacher after many years as a local carpenter. He wants to spread the gospel as far as he can in the short years allocated for discipleship training for his followers and the revelation of the Kingdom of God.
We are called to be a church on the move, as pilgrim people who have a mission and mandate to make disciples. How comfortable are we? How stagnant is our ministry? How on fire are we for the Lord? Time is indeed shorter that it was before. Each day draws us closer to the Second Coming.
In this new year, let us resolve to win as many souls as we can for the Kingdom. Let the name of the Lord Jesus be on our lips, as we share the goodness and grace of a loving God. May the Holy Spirit empower you to be on the move for God.
• Rev Angela Palacious, a motivational speaker and author of several devotional books, is an Anglican priest. She may be contacted at 393-9000 or by e-mail at email@example.com.