Historically, travel has been one of the hardest things for humans to accomplish. It is only within the last few hundred years that any major advances in transportation have been made. We can now be on the other side of the world in a matter of hours, a journey that would have taken months of misery in previous days.
Funny, and we still complain about long car rides with air conditioning or automatic heat. We still fuss at crowded airports and busy subways. I'm sure if we brought someone from the past to our world they would experience our modern travel with wide eyes and an open mouth.
Regardless of whether you travel on the back of a donkey, or in a jet, there is a desire to arrive at the destination as soon as possible. We have an expectation that our destination is more important and satisfying than the journey to get there.
Something that God has been teaching me extensively over the last several years is this....
the journey matters.
We don't hop from point A to point B on the map instantaneously. No, there is a road in between the points, one that we must travel and experience. In fact, when you look at the grand scheme of life, most of your life is spent on the journeys rather than the destinations. Our entire life on this planet is our journey towards our final destination, heaven. To believe that the destination is all that matters would discount the importance of our time spent here, on our journey.
Journeys are the time we spend getting from one place to another. There are short journeys, such as from when you begin learning to read until the time you have mastered it. And then there are much longer journeys that span years, decades, and lives. The journey of becoming more like Christ is one you begin at salvation, and continue until the day you die.
It is during the journey that God teaches us, molds us, and helps us grow. We meet people on our journey who have an impact on who we are, and who we become. We experience pain, joy, and hardship along the way, and those things either make us stronger, or break us down. Sometimes they do both.
When I begin a journey, I am usually feeling a mixture of excitement and dread. Excitement, because I am on the road to a new destination, and dread, because I know how hard the road ahead will be. About midway through the journey, I find out just how hard the road is, and I begin to beg God to let me be done as soon as possible. By the time I am almost done, I feel like I am dead on the floor; it is only by the grace of God that I keep going.
But when I am done, and I look back over the journey that God brought me on, I think, "Wowzers, that was intense. I'm so glad that is done."
And the way I know that the journey was worth it, is when I ask myself if I would trade that season for something easier. My answer is no, I wouldn't trade it for anything, because I can see how far God has brought me.
Mary's journey to Bethlehem was one of great hardship. The poor woman had to ride on the back of a bony donkey while being pregnant. She was cold, thirsty, hungry, tired, and in pain. Joseph had to walk that journey in sandals! They faced crowded roads, crowded towns, bad weather, and bad people. Their end destination? A stable for what was little better than a side-of-the-highway birth.
The journey had to be terrible, but in the end, I bet Mary was okay with the results. She was right where she was supposed to be. All of the prophesies regarding Jesus's birth had been fulfilled. Shepherds had greeted the her son with open hearts and tears of joy. Not to mention that she had given birth to the Son of God in stable after traveling across the country, talk about a tiger mama!
Jesus could not have been born in Mary's home village, He had to be born in Bethlehem; the shepherds surrounding Bethlehem, they were the ones chosen to meet the Messiah first. Who knows what else happened on that journey, who knows what people Mary and Joseph came in contact with,. Who knows what effect that journey had on others who were on their own journeys. Only God knows the answers to all of those questions.
Destinations do matter, they are incredibly important. But without the journey to get there, we would be far poorer as people.
This Christmas, embrace the journey that God has you on right now. Even if it is hard and messy. There is a purpose in our journeys, and when we finally arrive at our destination, we will thank God for the journey that brought us there.
Need more truth this Christmas? I have 8 more days worth to share with you, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, and Day 8.
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