Revd Sara Reflects on Advent 2
Journeying Blessings for Joseph
I often imagine the trip from Nazareth to Bethlehem as a long and lonely one, about seventy miles, travelling up to twenty miles a day, donkey speed. However, Caesar’s order applied to all inhabitants of Judea (and there was a reason the inn was full). Travellers rarely travelled alone as there was greater safety in numbers. Joseph and Mary would most likely have been accompanied by Joseph’s parents and other relatives. Since virtue does not occur in isolation, it can be assumed that the men and women accompanying them were like Joseph and were similarly filled with great virtue. In other words, there could have been no greater travelling companions. God provided Joseph and Mary with significant love and support from virtuous friends throughout the difficult journey.
There was no room at the inn. It must be remembered that hotels in ancient times shared little in common with the luxury hotels of today. The inn in Bethlehem was a high walled enclosure with covered porches in which the animals of travellers were tied to pillars in a central courtyard.
In contrast to a public inn, the stable offered privacy and even warmth. Rather than being exposed to the open air and the eyes of strangers, Mary could be made comfortable on a bed of fresh hay. Even the animals themselves provided a source of heat which could be trapped inside the cave-like stable and increase Mary’s comfort.
The trip to Bethlehem offers us the chance to encounter God’s providence in unexpected ways. However, this often requires us to see things differently. To move beyond initial impressions. Doing this requires intentionality and effort. Therefore, I would like to offer a practice I have adopted to grow in recognition of God’s providence.
This Advent, I encourage you to use a notebook and each day sit down, prayerfully review the past 24 hours, and identify one Act of Grace. At the end of Advent, review your list to see both the mighty and subtle ways God is acting to prepare you for His coming into your life this Christmas.
God also sends us his angels both heavenly and earthly. Be aware of their love, support and presence. They are sharing the journey with you as God has ordained.
with love and Advent prayers Revd Sara