Road Trip with Jesus


Dear POP folks,
Back in the day, people didn’t travel much.  When they did, it was for business, worship, major family events, or when they were compelled by the government.  Most of the time, people stayed home, eking out a living.   Ordinary people never got a break, except for the Sabbath rest.  Life was not about happiness;  it was about survival. 

Jesus was born into the world, not in the comfort of home, but on a road trip.  Mary and Joseph were in the midst of a journey, but not in their accustomed religious context of going up to the Temple in Jerusalem.

Their trip covered about 80 miles, beginning in Nazareth and winding through Samaria and Jerusalem ending in Bethlehem.  Mary was at the end of her pregnancy.   She and Joseph no doubt traveled with a group, affording them protection from robbers, bears, lions, possessed people and other calamities.  Even if Mary was on a donkey, they did not move with a lot of speed.  It took them perhaps a week to make the trip.

They were to remain in Bethlehem for a couple of years and then flee to Egypt, eventually moving back to Nazareth.  Joseph took his occupation as a woodworker with him wherever they traveled, thanks to his tools carried, no doubt, by a donkey. 

As residents of the United States, we are a people who travel a lot, sometimes on a whim. Thanks to modern roads, motels, internet planning, and transportation, we can declare, “Road Trip!” and jump into the car for a weekend or even longer.   In the spring, when the wildflowers are out, central Texas is alive with non-residents taking pictures of the bluebonnets, eating fresh kolaches and Polish sausage, drinking Shiner beer, eating delicious Blue Bell ice-cream, and visiting the painted churches.  Just for the enjoyment of it.

We are preparing to celebrate Jesus’ Great Journey:  from the Father, through Mary, to the Cross, through the Tomb and back to divine Glory.   Jesus traveled always for a purpose:  to take our burdens and to give us the Father’s love.  Everywhere he went, everything he did was for us.  In his travels, he enjoyed Bethany and the Jordan, feared Jerusalem, felt conflicted about Samaria.   And yet, he visited them all to leave us a legacy of healing and love.

You may not be traveling this month or you may be hitting the road (joyfully or with trepidation) to spend Christmas with family.   Don’t forget to pray when you travel:  for safety and blessings.  Always remember that Jesus is the Great Traveler, who first breathed our air while on a road trip.  He accompanies those who invite him on the journeys of our holidays and of our lives.