The story of the visit of the Magi has much to teach followers of Jesus about the way of the Christian life. You can watch the whole service, or just catch the message, based on Matthew 2, beginning at 24:35.
Later today, my wife and I will embark on a pilgrimage, a journey neither of us ever expected to take. We are going to visit the Holy Land.
We will fly directly from Toronto to Tel Aviv, and immediately get on a bus to begin our tour, hitting the ground running, so to speak. We are travelling as part of a clergy tour; it will be led by a friend and colleague of mine, who has taken such trips many times before. I look forward to arriving at Pearson Airport and consigning myself to his care, knowing that we will be in good hands.
We will visit many biblically significant sites: the place where Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal (1 Kings 18); the sea of Galilee, where Jesus and the disciples spent so much time; the Dead Sea, in the caves above which were found the Dead Sea Scrolls, which have added so much to biblical scholarship; Jerusalem, where the temple was; Nazareth, where Jesus grew up; and Bethlehem, where he was born. At this moment, it seems surreal that we will walk where Jesus walked.
As it turns out, we will be there for Hanukkah, the Jewish festival of lights. While this may make for more crowds, it will also make for a more joyous atmosphere; seeing joy on the faces of people is always infectious, so we expect to see an added cultural dimension as a result of the timing of our journey.
It really is a pilgrimage: it is a religious journey. It is a trip which, for me, has one sole purpose: to make the Bible three-dimensional. To be able to see, in my mind’s eye, the place about which I am preaching from Scripture should, I hope, make me a better communicator of God’s truth.
Please keep us, and our group, in your prayers. Ask God to grant us safe travel both in the air and on the ground, and ask the Lord to give us both a meaningful experience and the opportunity to slow down enough to take it all in – and rest! And watch this space for updates, time and WiFi permitting.