Thursday, December 27, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Today’s text

Matthew 2:1-2

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, suddenly some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east asking, 'Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.


Many of us travel during the days of Christmas. The question, ‘Where are you going?’ is common among us.

Most answers are predictable: ‘Going home … going to see my wife’s family … taking the family south to catch some sun … or north to find some snow.’

On Christmas Eve, I asked a young man I hadn’t seen in a while where he was headed, and one word was quickly on this lips, “Nepal.”

It wasn’t a Christmas trip. There would be no holiday celebrations, but there would be gift gifting. The primary gift was the young man himself, his open and heart and mind, along with those of his companions.

They were going to listen, learn and work among poor children, especially those caught up in the sex trafficking rampant in that part of the world.

They would not return unchanged, which is why they are traveling in the first place. They want to be changed, to have their minds enlightened, their hearts moved and their wills steeled to live with greater compassion.

They are not on a trip but a pilgrimage where they hope and expect something holy and deep to happen to them, something they cannot control or force.

They go with open hearts, willing to let the sights and faces, stories of pain and redemption take them to places in themselves they cannot predict.

Who knows what they will find or what it will do to them?

They are pilgrims, not tourists. The difference between tourists and pilgrims is that the pilgrim travels in order to be changed.

Pilgrims do not seek to control what happens on the journey but move with faith, trusting there is another will, another power and grace at work that will do its work in them … and through them.

The pilgrim trusts this power seeks the redemption of his soul, moving him to greater life, purpose and compassion.

The wise men were pilgrims, not tourists. They brought gifts to Jesus birthplace. But their greatest gift, symbolized by their willing journey far from home, was openness of heart.

They trusted there was something they needed to see and hear--and that it would change them into beings more alive and human than they had been

The trick, of course, is to live each day as a pilgrim, not knowing, but always trusting.

Pr. David L. Miller

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