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My musings, my rambles and I welcome you.
26 In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27 to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.
The Advent Adventure for 2011 is entitled “How Far to Bethlehem?” It is being approached a spiritual journey. And as in any journey, preparation is the key. What do I need for an actual trip to the Holy Lands? I need a passport, luggage, money. I need to check to see if I need to update my immunizations. I need to make arrangements for my house, my job, my dog. And those are the preps just the ones off the top of my head. I’m sure there are a thousand and one other details that need to be woven into the itinerary so that the journey is safe and successful.
What do I need to prepare for a successful spiritual journey? I need a planned study hence the Advent Adventure. I don’t do well without some kind of structure and accountability. A quiet and uncluttered space makes it easier to focus on the spiritual rather than the “I gotta get it done now.” A block of time set aside just for the study is a must. Finally, I need the ‘WANT TO’. Even if I have everything else, if I don’t have the ‘WANT To’ to be doing the journey, it makes for a miserable and unsuccessful trip.
Preparation and patience: I think those might be God’s middle names. He waited 400 years to speak from Malachi to Matthew and/or Luke. The world turned into the Roman Empire during those 400 years. An empire whether they knew or not would assist God in fulfilling prophecy. He waited for a “good man” like Joseph to care for His Son. He waited for a girl like Mary to be the Mom. All conditions were perfect when the Angel made his amazing announcement.
Speaking of patience, God seems to like to do the Texas two-step with us in our spiritual walk. You know one step forward two steps back. It doesn’t seem like you can get very far do a walk like that but sometimes a step or two is necessary and strengthening. Sometimes a step back will take you in a different direction, get your attention or just get you to regroup.
“In the sixth month…”
To answer Bud’s question, I always thought it meant Elizabeth’s 6th month of pregnancy. I always took an earthy and more mundane view of that timeline. I figured that God wanted Jesus and John (his cousin) to be close in age. As they grew up, the cousins would see each other at least yearly for the feast days. They could play together, talk things over and be boys who both had a powerful call on their lives. When Jesus was twelve and lost for three days, he was found in the temple among the teachers. I always wondered what John was doing. Surely Jesus stayed with his aunt and uncle until his parents came for him. Well maybe thirteen year old boys don’t talk to twelve year old boys especially ones geeky enough to be talking with teachers.
But all of this shows God’s preparation and planning.
I have been wondering recently where is that sweet young Christian woman that I used to be. She would do almost anything God asked her to do. I’d like to think that I am older and wiser but that’s not true. I am more cautious, more anxious less trusting than I used to be. I think one of the reasons for this is that I am less prepared for the spiritual life than ever. I would never leave on trip without luggage. Why am I not carrying my spiritual tools? Because the spiritual life takes time, energy and attention. These things have been in short supply in recent years so my tool belt is empty.
So please saddle up and join me to journey to Bethlehem