FOCUS: Journey to Bethlehem


This is the third week of Advent Season which is a time of celebration for Christians all around the world.  The Advent season is a time to prepare and a time to remember the journey of Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem for the birth of a Messiah who would be named Jesus and would be sent to save the world.  Isaiah 9: 6-7 tells us a child will be given to the world to save all who believe in this Messiah called Jesus.  Isaiah tells us that this Messiah will have special names and will rule with perfect fairness and justice.  He will bring peace to all nations of the world.

Isaiah is preparing us for the time of Jesus’ birth to the time of Jesus’ return.  The Son is given by the Father to be the Promise, the Hope, the Joy, the Love and the Peace for the world.  The birth of the Christ child born in a lowly stable to Mary and Joseph was a wonderful event but an event with much responsibility given to the parents of this little baby.  As we think of the Journey to Bethlehem, Mary and Joseph were given little consideration for the arrival of their baby.  The only place for them to stay was a stable with the animals.  The only bed for the baby was a manger where the animals were fed.  Yet, this miracle birth has been spoken about throughout the ages.  The birth, life and death of God’s Son, the Messiah, was and still is the hope and promise for the world.  This was and is God’s plan for His people.

This little baby was “Wonderful.”  This baby would be the “Counselor.”  This baby would be the “Mighty God.”  This baby, Jesus would be “The Everlasting Father.”  Jesus would be the “Prince of Peace.”  Advent is a time to reflect on God’s Promise and Hope for the world.  Through God’s Son, Jesus Christ, we can celebrate the Joy, Love and Peace that He taught the world.  On our Journey to Bethlehem, we can know that God ‘s promise and hope for the world is the same as the written word told by Isaiah.  Jesus was the hope for those in the past, is the hope for those in the present and certainly, Jesus is the promise and the hope for the future.

Sometimes we allow Christmas to become hectic and full of expectations of what will happen throughout the holidays. Advent is a preparation time and then looking forward to Christmas we worry that we will not get everything ready in time. We forget the Advent words of Hope, Love, Joy and Peace. For many, there does not seem to be hope. Some folks do not feel loved. Joy is not always felt and peace never seems to come. Hope, Love, Joy and Peace need to come from within us. When we feel lonely and do not find hope in our lives, reach out to someone who might need those same words or actions. When joy and peace seem unattainable, find the joy in your heart and the peace you find within and share it with someone who needs it more than you do. When you reach deep within yourself, you can make a difference in the life of someone else which in turn will give you joy and peace.

Christmas time is a busy time for everyone, and we need to set aside some special moments to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.  Christmas time can be stressful as we prepare for family celebrations, shopping, cooking and celebrations of the season with community events.  Where is the quiet time?  Where are the special traditions that have been celebrated with our families down through the years?

During this Christmas season, look for ways to find joy, love and peace within the family, in the neighborhood, the community, the church you attend and say a special prayer for our nation.  It is not too late to find someone who needs a friend or a family who needs assistance.  Call a friend that you have not seen or talked to for some time.  If your parents live out of state and you cannot be with them for Christmas, call them.  If your children live a long distance away, call them.  Make a special effort to show others your joy, your peace and your love.  Christmas is a time to share and to show that you care.

Here are some special thoughts written by various unknown authors.

Christmas is a time of joy, a time of love, a time of peace, a time for giving thanks to God for miracles that never cease.  Christmas is a special day to remember those whose warmth and kindness have blessed our lives in many ways.

Believe in the mystery, the miracles and the magic. Believe in angels and natural wonders and the beauty inside people.  Believe in a bright-and- new year ahead.

As we celebrate the birth of Jesus, may we remember the hope that is ours because He lives...the joy that is ours because His presence is with us…the love that He showed when He gave His very best.

Romans 15…May God of hope fill you with joy and peace in believing.

I would like to end this column with a Christmas prayer for you.

Heavenly Father, as we prepare for the Journey to Bethlehem for the celebration of the birthday of Jesus Christ, help us to remember this journey is full of promise, hope, joy, love and peace. Help us show others how important it is to share these truths in a time when there is a shortage of the promise of hope, love and peace in our world.  Show us how to be the light to guide others to your love and your sacrifice of your only son so that we might have everlasting peace.

And finally, Christmas is a special day to remember you and wish you “The Lords Blessing.”

“Merry Christmas” from my family to yours.

Carol

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