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Journey to Christmas

It’s too easy to look at December 25 as a destination, writes Fuller Texas student Traci Arrington, rather than savoring the journey of Advent.

Lumpkin - bicycle

Photo by Matt Lumpkin (MDiv ’11)

“Are we there yet?” How many times have we heard, or said, those words from the back seat of the car? It’s a valid question to ask, whether we are nearing the physical destination of our travels or the spiritual destination of our souls. In fact, it’s a question I find myself asking fairly frequently throughout the whole month of December. It seems that everything—every decoration, every purchase, every activity—is planned with the day of December 25 in mind.

Church program and practices scheduled? Check.
Gifts for family and friends? Check.
Parties on the calendar? Check.
Travel arrangements? Check.
Allergy-free Christmas meal? Check.
Sanity? Check.
(Well, maybe that last one needs to be double-checked...)

Christmas Day, after all, is the destination of December, right?

Christmas Day? Check.

What would happen if we approached the month of December as an adventurous journey to Bethlehem, rather than just isolating Christmas Day as a destination to check off our list once we arrive?

What if we held the attitude of Mary on her journey to Bethlehem, pregnant with expectation? Filled with anticipation and excitement at how God would show up next?

What if we held the attitude of Joseph on his journey to Bethlehem, charged with protecting our loved ones? Consciously aware of any number of surprises that could be waiting around the next corner, but faithfully trusting God regardless?

What if we held the attitude of Jesus on his journey to Bethlehem, waiting, watching, and showing up in God’s perfect timing, despite the unseen forces trying to interfere? Ready and fully willing to grow into God’s purpose while on the Earth?

As a day of remembrance for God’s greatest gift to the world, Christmas Day as a destination is important. However, the journey must be savored as well. The journey is where we wait. The journey is where we trust. The journey is where we grow. The journey is where God works.

Just like Mary and Joseph, who knows what wonders await upon arrival? But without the journey, the story is incomplete, both for them and for us.

How we get there matters.

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