Around this time of year, pastors often speak of the difficulty of the travel that Mary and Joseph encountered going to Bethlehem. It is a long, dry walk, to be sure, and dangerous. But that trek was not the only trip of the Christmas story. As you look at the Gospels, each journey came with some sort of announcement, including the essential command to “Fear Not!” Check these out in Matthew 1 and 2 and Luke 1 and 2.
- Gabriel went to the Temple to speak to Zechariah: “Fear not. Your wife will bear a son.”
- Zechariah went home to Elizabeth: “. . .”
- Gabriel went to Nazareth to Mary: “Fear not. You will bear a son.”
- Mary went to Ein Karem to Elizabeth: “My spirit rejoices in God my Savior.”
- Mary went back to Nazareth: She was found to be with child.
- Gabriel went to Nazareth to Joseph: “Fear not. She will bear a Son. You will call His name Jesus.”
- Mary went to Joseph’s house: She became his wife, but he kept her a virgin until she brought forth her first-born son.
- Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem: “All the world shall be taxed.”
- Angels went to the shepherds keeping watch: “Fear not. . . for unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ, the LORD.”
- Shepherds went to see the baby: “Let us go to Bethlehem to see this thing which has come to pass!”
- Joseph and Mary and the baby Jesus went to Jerusalem to the temple and see Simeon: “My eyes have seen your salvation, the light of the Gentiles, and the glory of His people, Israel.”
- The Magi went to see Herod in Jerusalem: “When you have found him, return to me so that I too may worship him.”
- The Magi went to Bethlehem to find the Star-King: They rejoiced with exceedingly great joy, and returned home elusively.
- Joseph and Mary and Jesus went to Egypt to evade Herod’s slaughter: “Out of Egypt I have called my Son.”
But of all of the journeys and all of the announcements, this is the most amazing: Jesus left heaven to come to earth.
“When the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law so that we might receive adoption as sons. 6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” 7 So you are no longer a slave, but a son, and if a son, then an heir through God.”Galatians 4:4-7
Merry, Merry Christmas! And Godspeed on your journey!