We all make journeys at different times in the year. However Christmas is specifically poignant when it comes to making journeys. From mid November onwards people are beginning to prepare for Christmas. Inevitably it means they take journeys some are short and some take much longer.
This year during the Advent Season here at Sanctuary First we are going to invite you to reflect upon the journeys you make.
As part of this reflection we thought it would be interesting to look at the stories in the Bible surrounding Christmas and pick out the ones that seem to have an interesting journey attached to them. In particular we thought it would be of interest to think in a more in-depth way about the lessons that we can learn from the journey of the wise men. We have included a Labyrinth reflection based on the wise men and their journey. This Labyrinth written by Rev Maggie Lane has been tried and tested over the years at St Andrew’s Bo’ness and has been a source of great encouragement to those who have taken the time to walk throughout it.
As we prepared the Advent material the first thing we noticed was that journeys are about coming and going. Some journeys are all about a mission, about expectation about wondering about waiting to see how things are going to turn out. I guess these are the ‘going journeys’. Other journeys are about returning coming home. These kind of journeys are all about reflection about ‘doing’ about responding to what has been encountered on the going journey. The ‘coming back journey’ often demands a response an action.
There might even be a third journey. This is the one in which you are not sure if you are ‘coming or going’ It’s not that you are standing still. Its more about your understanding. Someone says to you ‘are you going along’ and you say yes “I’m coming along”. Both may be going in the same direction but they may have started their journeys from different places. They are going in the same direction but they’ve coming from different places. This means that their experience and understanding will be both very different. How they read the journey, what spectacles they wear, who they meet, who they take time to speak with, as they travel - will all in some way affect their understanding and meaning of the journey that they have embarked upon.
During the Advent Season here at Sanctuary First we’ve taken Matthew’s Gospel as our source document to enter the Christmas story. We have chosen the journeys of the wise men to begin to help us explore in more depth our own personal journeys of faith. Using the stories as told in Matthew’s Gospel we will develop biblical teaching about a wide variety of life experiences.
Over a period of ten themes we will deal with topics as diverse as decision making or how to deal with betrayal and personal doubt. This series of reflections will aim to re-engage us all in our journey of faith through Advent into Christmas.