In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered.
Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
The title of this Sunday’s meditation is “The Pilgrimage.” The children will be enacting the Las Posadas, a poignant story of the journey Mary and Joseph make to Bethlehem in order to register for tax purposes. When they arrive, Mary and Joseph do not easily find shelter. At times we, like this young couple, face journeys we would not choose. These intrusions, whether a family transition or change in health or sudden loss, take us through an inner journey or spiritual pilgrimage. When we think we have come to the end of the journey and can rest at last, we may not find the “inn” we had expected. We don’t journey through transitions without changing. This season can give birth to new ways of being in the world.
Questions you might consider:
- You have heard this text many times but what does the journey symbolize for you?
- What are some journeys that you have had to make but wouldn’t choose? How have they changed you?
- How does the inner journey inform your outer experience?