At the start of a New Year when it’s really just another day but we intend to find a new page to start afresh I find myself thinking about what that new start was like for Jesus and His family. The last month or so has been busy with travel, meeting people and celebrating and embracing more change. It was like this for Mary and Joseph. The journey of about 85 miles from Nazareth to Bethlehem would have taken time. Did they walk or could they afford a donkey? How comfortable would either option have been? Not an easy journey for a heavily pregnant women and no wonder she went into labour on arrival! How tense was their discussions: no hospital, midwife, pain relief or even a bed? Was Mary singing her song of thanks and feeling blessed then or pondering again what the angel had said to her? Was Joseph really excited to see this baby that wasn’t his? Did they still have a positive attitude in the challenges of giving birth to Jesus?
Yet In all the uncertainty, confusion and lack of room; in all the relationship conflict, unwelcome hospitality; in all the unfamiliar circumstance and lack of provision for new life, Jesus came. the Light of the world birthed into darkness. God’s Light piercing the darkness of our humanity.
Then more light when the host of Angels visit the darkness of the fields where the shepherds were. Again the celebrations began in the out of the way places, on the outskirts where the rejected and lowly were. Angels lighting up the sky and the dark places with praise and worship announcing His arrival. The magi following the light of the star bringing them direction so they could come and encounter Jesus too. Jesus the light of the world illuminating everything so they could find Him.
After a short rest this new family are back on the road, necessary to take that person of Light as the darkness of death tried to kill it as soon as it was born. Herod’s jealous and fear wanting to snuff out the light before it grew any bigger. Did Mary and Joseph feel blessed then? Or did anxiety flood them as they searched for safety? Did they expect protection and a smooth life because they were favoured and chosen? Aren’t we in the same situation as Mary and Joseph? Isn’t that what we all, always want? safety, protection, new life, a place to belong? A home with the absence of fear?
But how would we know the light without the darkness? How could we experience His presence if we don’t make room? In all the cracks that emerge in our circumstance we can stand in the light and continue to nurture it. Did Mary and Joseph know where they were going when they left Bethlehem? Do we know what will work out this year ahead? Does God show us what He is going to do or how He will do it? Or does He show us more of who He is?
then I read this: