We are almost at our final destination. I am feeling very tired now, yet strangely peaceful.
As our hosts pointed the way for us up the hill towards where we needed to go, we could hear people singing about a new born king. I could feel my little baby jump for joy inside me which took my mind back a few months to when I visited my cousin Elizabeth. I remembered how she told me that I would be blessed if I believed in God’s promise.
Although Joseph and I are tired, we are trusting, we are waiting.
I notice Joseph was writing about work yesterday but thankfully it’s not always about the daily grind! One of our hosts today was enjoying a bit of downtime so we joined in with a bit of ‘FIFA’ on the Playstation. I’m learning the lingo as I go, not to mention the nuances of the offside rule. So having fun, that’s part of being human – part of being true to how we’ve been created to be.
Bringing Joy to the World.
That’s what living in the light of God is really about. After all, if living out God’s plan for us is about being dour and grumpy, it will be a hard slog. And so much harder to share that message with others. I’m pretty sure that’s not what the psalmists had in mind with their great songs of praise; or what cousin Elizabeth’s unborn baby’s reaction was when I went to see her shortly before we left’; or how the angel who announced my chosen purpose came across to me.
What is coming is going to change the world.
A Joy unlike any other we’ve known before. A Joy that will be impossible to resist. A Joy that will overcome. A Joy that will be eternal.
The world is waiting.
We accompanied one of our hosts at work today – he sits in one of the rooms of the house in front of a couple of screens and types frantically! Work, of course, is something dear to my own heart – I’m rarely happier then when I’m working wood. ‘Joseph the Worker’ the children sometimes call me back home when passing by, through clouds of saw dust. So I understand the need for God to bless our working lives too, and I know he is there in each moment, each decision, each hardship, each mundane task. I hope our host feels this too. Work is how we provide for the ones we love and I hope I honour God in the way I provide for Mary in her need.
I have a new focus now though, a new journey.
In fact, two new journeys.
First, to Bethlehem. I am blessed to be descended from the royal house of King David. That may look good on the cv, but with this new Census being called by the Romans, it requires me to travel to my ‘own town’ to be registered. That, given my lineage, is Bethlehem of course. It would be inconvenient and difficult normally – having Mary with child as well is that much harder.
The second journey is one of the soul and of the heart. Something has changed within me this past year. The circumstances in which I find myself and Mary would have ripped other peoples’ worlds apart. For me though, I know something incredible is happening. I feel closer to Mary than ever before. And I feel bound up with something of God’s own making – something that is much bigger than a breathless journey to Bethlehem; bigger than us; bigger than the Romans; bigger than even I can imagine or hope for. God has come close to both Mary and I in this past year in a way I can’t really put into words; it’s like the breath within me has changed.
I am apprehensive yes, and worried for my Mary. But I know my second journey is gradually making sense of the first.
So let us continue, to work His purpose out.
We made our way to St Teilo Alway today as we continue our journey to Bethlehem. We found an empty stable to rest for the evening – I hope the owners won’t mind.
While we were there many of our friends we’ve already spent time with on the road came to sing carols and celebrate the story of God’s goodness to us.
We heard about the great plan of salvation as revealed by the Prophet Isaiah. Then there was something close to my own heart – my own encounter with an angel that has transformed my life. There were many songs – one echoed the words of Gabriel himself, ‘most highly favoured Lady’; another was beautiful but harrowing – a lullaby that foretold of great suffering at the hands of a jealous king; yet another spoke of the inadequacy with which we can offer anything of worth to the Father who knows all and provides all.
Yet that same Father longs for us to love him in return – and how precious that gift of love is.
So what can we offer? What can I give Him?
Give my heart.