Going on a Journey
by Stuart Malkin 21 December 2020
About 40 years ago Ann and I went away on a holiday to Sorrento in Italy, our first holiday together and certainly the first holiday to foreign shores. No doubt each of you reading this have experienced the excitement of preparing for any holiday, getting everything together and wondering if it will all go in the suitcase, hand luggage etc. On arriving, the smell of the oranges, lemons and limes hit us and still linger to this day.
We had been there but a day or so when we saw something unusual, people buying loads of gladioli, but on the bulb. On asking the owner of the hotel about this we were told to go down to the cemetery that night. We thought this was rather odd but we had been assured it was worth it. That evening we followed quite a number of people with large bunches of gladiolus. On going through the gates the place was alight in various ways, people were taking the flowers and leaving them alongside the lights, whole families meeting. We left after a few minutes and were told later that this was a representation of ‘out the great darkness comes great light’.
Reading Luke 1 v 26 to 38
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It is so easy for us to travel from one place to another and sometimes see or find something that surprises us or leaves us a little stunned. The two characters in the reading today were hit by the unknown before they had set out on any journey.
Mary was given information that for any young lady of any generation would have been difficult to process but... (and there is always a but). She was already engaged to Joseph. When the archangel appeared to her telling her that she was going to have a son, not any son, but the Son of God and he was to be called Jesus. She tells the visitor it was not possible as she was still a virgin, the angel replied,
‘Nothing is impossible for God’
What would Joseph say? Also her family, never mind the neighbours!
Joseph had to be told straight away. Would he believe in the same way she was now starting to accept? These words would be hanging in her head as she nervously opened her mouth and saw his questioning face. You can see in your mind's eye his expressions as he walked away. Joseph now thinking, how do I deal with this? Ultimately God sends his visitor to help Joseph’s thinking and so these two youngsters set out on a journey.
Mary, Joseph and child were immediately under attack and had to go into foreign lands along with many others until deemed safe to return home. Today there are many who have to journey from home and quickly become refugees because of kings and leaders who care nothing for humanity. This holy family knew that whatever happened God had a plan for all mankind if only they accepted His Son.
Jesus was in this world but 33 years and showed what was in God’s plan, that of a Love no man could disregard.
Into a dark world came the light that will never be snuffed out.
Father God we praise you for all that you did for the journey you started for Mary and Joseph an example for us all as we follow our Lord Jesus