When Mary & Joseph Went Home...

I have never heard anyone speculate about what the trip home from Bethlehem was like for Joseph and Mary. We know they were in Bethlehem because Joseph had to register for a Roman census. We know they traveled from their home in Nazareth to this town. And so we can assume that they would have had to (days or weeks later?) gone home after Jesus' birth.

·         I wonder what that was like -  Joseph and Mary, meeting Joseph’s family, Mary’s family and introducing Jesus to them.

·         I wonder how much of the events of the night of Jesus birth they had relayed to family members.

·         I wonder what it was like to explain the name they had given him (remember an angel had chosen the name for Jesus [the Hebrew name Yeshua]).

·         I wonder what it was like to have family members pass Jesus around to hold him, to comfort him when he cried, to put him to sleep, to change him.

·         I wonder how many people told her that Jesus had her eyes?

That family probably had no clue as to who they were holding.

When we read the scriptures about Jesus being Immanuel, God with us, God in the flesh, we know more of Jesus true identity.

But it is good for us remember that Jesus was part of a normal everyday human family.  (God always works in families.) Remember this when you are with your own family.

Grace & Peace, 
Brad Swope

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Experiencing Peace

Yesterday, I “escaped” for a two hour retreat at a local abbey.

Most of the time when I go on retreat, be it for an hour or for a day, a familiar process takes place. It begins with my mind full of a jumble of thoughts – things I have to do, worries I have, people I need to meet with, etc...

But as I spend time in quiet, in God’s presence, I usually get a great gift... oh not major epiphanies (though those sometimes occur) …the gift from God I usually get is peace…I find rest.

Yesterday was no exception. Nothing changed in my life…all the to do’s were still there, but as I left, I had a deep sense that “all was well.

We will most certainly hear the reading of Isaiah 9 this Christmas which speaks about Immanuel as “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, & Prince of Peace.

And we know that the peace Jesus brings is foremost “peace with God.

But I do think he delights to give us peace for our day to day lives as well.

Take some time to sit quietly with Jesus this week and see if he does not grant you a measure of the peace that comes when we encounter his real and abiding presence.

Grace & Peace,
Brad Swope

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