It’s dark, the curtains are closed, as much to keep out the cold as anything.
Night has descended and silence, almost, reigns. The occasional car can be heard passing along The Street, but that is all. Today we are, once again, encouraged to work from home and with that I am reminded of those old wartime posters, Is your journey really necessary?
I have journeyed much in my life; around the UK, across Europe and deep into the South Atlantic. I now live nearly 130 miles from where I was born. Not all my journeys have been necessary, nor even profitable, but the greatest value has come meeting different people in different places: sharing, if only for a moment, in someone else’s life and letting them share a part of mine.
This week our Advent journey is drawing to a close. Soon we will come, once again, to kneel before a baby in a manger, and marvel that this very ordinary and vulnerable looking child is God incarnate. First, though, we are invited to see again his mother starting out on her journey.
We are familiar with the visit of the angel Gabriel to Mary, but perhaps we overlook the fact that the same angelic visitor who told Mary she was pregnant also told her that her aged relative, Elizabeth, was already 6-months pregnant herself. Two miracles in one message. Elizabeth was, no doubt, delighted with her news. Mary, as yet unmarried, must have received the news with more trepidation. And so, she set out to visit Elizabeth and Luke gives a delightful short account of their meeting. (Luke 1:39-45).
Mary and Elizabeth will enjoy one another’s company for three months. Elizabeth encourages Mary, affirming that her child is a God given blessing. In return, no doubt Mary was able to offer an increasingly tired Elizabeth some practical help about the house. Human sharing is essential to human flourishing. Mary’s journey brought the mutual support 2 humans needed. As their story unfolds, we see how God travelled with them.
As we travel into the darker days ahead; who might we take God to meet, and who will we greet bringing God to us?
Rev Philip Payne
Advent 4 – 19 December
The Noice Sheet for 19 December can be found here.