Each Advent we find ourselves in this same place: about to seek a tiny town we do not know and to start a long journey in order to understand the incredible plan of God who wanted to come among us. And yet, each year, we return there. Why?
There is a word of unknown origin in our English vocabulary which is “hobo”, best defined as a “vagrant” or a “traveler with no destination”. That might be true, but one origin suggests that it is a corruption of “homeward bound”. I like that and I suggest we think of our Advent journey this year in those terms.
We have a journey to make, so we are Bethlehem bound. It is a bit elusive as a goal since we do not know what our Bethlehem will look like this year. Jesus is waiting at journey’s end, but that pilgrimage must come first. Travel is never easy and a spiritual road trip carries fears and demands for gifts we might not be sure that we have.
However, we will not travel alone. That is both comfort and, in some way, an additional challenge. We have to think back to the original travelers, the wise men from afar, a pregnant young woman, her troubled husband and a group of amazed shepherds. We will meet them during these weeks.
We have nothing to pack and no supplies to shoulder. We come as we are and we step forth with faith, love and a great sense of adventure. The Advent Journey of 2016 has never happened before.
I’ll meet you on the road. Bon voyage!