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December 9, 2019
They had to go forth from where they were most comfortable.
Mary and Joseph, from the backwater town of Nazareth, had to travel to the little town of Bethlehem. While it was the ancestral home of the house of King David, and they were ordered to go there to register for the Roman census, they were such strangers in the town that they had no place to stay. Yet they went so that the Bread of Life could be born in the city whose name means “house of bread.” They laid him who was to be food and drink for the world in a manger, so that from that feeding trough he could reach out to feed the whole world with his love. But Mary and Joseph had to leave the comfort of their home.
The shepherds had the most amazing revelation of their lives: an angel speaking to them of Good Tidings, followed by a glorious concert of a choir of angels. But they had to leave their field and go into the town to see the most beautiful Lamb they had ever seen in their lives, the little Lamb of God.
The Magi travelled far from their homes, fueled only by a hope that they would see a special King. They had to go out from the countries in which they were comfortable to see the Wisest Man they had ever seen and the King of all kings.
As we celebrate this beautiful feast of Christmas, with its lights and romance, with its special food and music, with gatherings of family and friends, we, too must remember that the Lord sends us out on a journey. Yes, we are comforted by family and friends, and what a gift they are! Yet in the spirit of this wonderful Christmas story, we will find Jesus most concretely when we travel out of our comfortable places. As he was first found in the poorest conditions on the night of his birth, we find him in the poor, the homeless, and the hungry as we leave our comforts to reach out to them with the love of Christ that has been born in our hearts. As Jesus was the beautiful Lamb of God who would sacrifice his life for us, we know that the savings effects of that sacrifice will only reach many if we leave our comfort zones and speak to others of this Lamb, becoming ourselves the angels by which the world is evANGELized. When the foreign Magi from the East left their land with rich gifts to offer, they were most abundantly enriched, because they met the Savior of the World. How will others journey to Jesus unless we journey with them, taking the small steps and going the long distances so that all people may know the Prince of Peace?
Christmas is such a comforting feast! Yet it is never meant to be comfortable, but to challenge us to make our journey outward to others who do not yet know the Lamb of God, the Bread of Life, the Word made flesh, the King of kings. Then the world, which is so starved for love, will feast joyfully in his everlasting presence with us.
Christmas blessings – and blessed journeys – to you all!