A long journey…

journey-to-bethlehem

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.

Luke 2:1-5 NLT

Mary and Joseph set out for Bethlehem on the back of a donkey, because the powers that be had declared that everyone had to return to their home towns so that a census could be taken.

I can’t imagine what the journey must have been like. It certainly was nothing like the journey would be if you took it today. There were no highways, no buses, no roadside stops where you could buy food and drink. There were no hotels or showers or restaurants. Mary was obviously pregnant, which means she was also uncomfortable. All my friends who are Moms talk about that stage in their pregnancies as one where they were just ready to be done with it.

It must have been cold, and times frightening. I wonder where they stayed at night, what food they ate on the journey. It all looks so pretty on the Christmas cards we send, but the reality would have been quite different.

Isn’t that true of all of our Christmases, though? Often everything looks quite pretty – the family is dressed up, they gather at church together smiling at other families and friends. No one quite sees the cracks beneath the surface: the argument the siblings had on their way to the church service or the worry that the parents share over the bills that will come due in January. There is always more to the journey than meets the eye.

In Newtown, Connecticut, the first of the funerals for the children victimized in Friday’s shooting were held today. That town is on a journey of its own. Just holding the funerals is going to take quite a while, never mind all the time it will take for answers to be discovered or for healing to begin.

I am so thankful for a God who understands the journeys we face. I believe God was with Mary and Joseph on the road that they traveled to Bethlehem. I believe that God is with us on the roads we travel towards the celebration of Christmas. I believe God is present with the people of Newtown, as they journey from Friday’s tragedy to whatever the future will hold for them.

Whatever your journey looks like, may you know that God is with you on the road. May you know that Jesus took a long journey before he was even born, and continued to journey throughout his life. May these thoughts comfort you, and in finding comfort, may you pray for the comfort of others on the roads that they travel.

Catching up…

So I decided to do a ‘photoaday’ project for September. I thought I’d try blogging about the photos as I post them. Then the stomach flu hit. Suddenly I found myself 3 days behind at the very beginning of the project. Ugh.

So tonite I will blog 3 photos and hopefully tomorrow I will be back on track. Here we go!

#FMSPhotoaday Sept 1: You, now:

 

 

My social media friends might be a little sick of this photo by now, since it’s been on FB and Twitter today. But I really think it is the best pic of me right now. Taken on Friday, at the home of my chosen-family in Oshawa, I like this photo because I actually like the way my body looks in the picture. I have blogged often about my weight loss journey. I have had both great successes and great struggles with it during the past year. I have discovered that losing a pile of weight doesn’t fix all the problems in your life. It doesn’t solve any of your self esteem issues. I have trouble recognizing the changes in my body. But the journey continues. And I am learning to be thankful even in the midst of my struggles. This pic represents all of that to me.

 

FMSPhotoaday Sept 2: Father:


My Dad is a great guy. And one of the biggest joys of my summer was watching him interact with my chosen-nephews when they and their family came for a visit at the farmhouse this summer. So this is my Dad giving Nate a ride in a wheelbarrow. The great thing is that this was about 5 minutes after they arrived. It took Dad no time at all to find fun ways to engage the boys. When I was a kid, my Dad was the guy who’d run through the woods at my grandparents’ cottage with my brother and I, toy guns in our hands and laughter bubbling out of us like crazy people. I loved getting to see an echo of that as my Dad interacted with these precious boys and their little sister. My earthly father is a blessing (to me, and to many others!) and a reflection of my Heavenly Father.

 

#FMSPhotoaday: Sept 3: Far Away:

 

 

This is the view from the table where my Mom and I dined while we were in New York State this summer. This is the patio at Stonecutter’s pub at Belhurst castle, on the shores of lake Seneca in the Finger Lakes region. It was a gorgeous day and Mom and I were having some great girl-time together. That was right in the middle of the summer. Now the fall has begun and this feels far away in more than the physical sense. Still, this pic is a great reminder of how good it is to take a rest, get away, and find yourself renewed.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s photo & blog!