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Do you ever wonder about those “Wisemen” who traveled from “the East” to worship the infant Jesus? You remember…the guys who noticed a particular star in the heavens and knew that its appearance meant a new king had been, or was about to be, born somewhere near Jerusalem. Given this awareness, they packed up, got on their camels (supposedly), and traveled in search of this new king in order to worship him. We know what happened when they arrived with their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, but what about their journey?
How far was it and what hardships did they encounter on the road?
We know they saw the star in the “East,” but what made them decide to take on the arduous journey? How long did it take?
What hope kept them going when the going got rough? We know they brought expensive gifts, but what else did they pack? How did they decide what they would need to take with them?
CKPC member, Julia Carpenter, has learned what it means to pack for a long pilgrimage. She writes of her journey on the Camino de Santiago:
As you pilgrimage through these next few weeks of Advent, take time to ponder what you are lugging around. Freedom to carry less is both an exterior and interior invitation.
There is a scene in John Bunyan’s 1675 A.D. allegory Pilgrim’s Progress which speaks to our life-long journey:
Now I [John Bunyan] saw in my dream, that the highway up which CHRISTIAN [the pilgrim] was to go was fenced on either side with a wall; and that wall was called ‘Salvation.’ Up this way, therefore, did burdened CHRISTIAN run; but not without great difficulty, because of the load on his back. He ran thus till he came at a place somewhat ascending; and upon that place stood a Cross, and a little below, in the bottom, a sepulcher. So I saw in my dream, that just as CHRISTIAN came up to the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble; and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulcher, where it fell in, and I saw it no more. Then was CHRISTIAN glad and lightsome, and said, with a merry heart, “He hath given me rest by his sorrow, And life by his death”
Then CHRISTIAN stood still awhile to look and wonder; for it was very surprising to him, that the sight of the cross should thus ease him of his burden. He looked therefore, and looked again, even till the springs that were in his head sent the waters down his cheeks.
God is not the goal of our life journey, but the home from which we start, the pathway upon which we walk, and the place of welcome at the end.
(adapted from a quote by David Lonsdale)