Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Three Journeys of Jesus' Family and the Magi at Jesus' Birth

 I am just beginning a series of 5 sermons in a row finishing on 3rd January, being the first Sunday of 2021. We have had a wonderful Christmas service last Sunday with 20 more turned up than the capacity allowed. In our church hall of 2.5 shop lot units, we could only sit 110 people but 130 adults showed up with 20 seated in the doorway and waiting rooms. It was quite a sight with almost everyone wearing a face mask except the preacher when he was preaching. I guess I shoulder most of the risks, but that's part of the ministry of Jesus Christ that I partake in. I spoke about the three journeys of Christmas from the Gospels of Luke and Matthew. The first was Joseph's and Mary's return to Bethlehem from Nazareth when Mary was at least 7 or 8 months' pregnant and as soon as they arrived, it was time for Mary to give birth. There was no room for them, most likely referring to Joseph's relatives' homes which could not provide Joseph and Mary with a guest room.

The only place available was the room where the domestic animals were kept and fed. So when Jesus was born, he was put into a manger, not a very comfortable place to be in for a new-born with animals' smell and the bleating in and near the manger.  Second, I spoke about the Magi from the East, most likely Persia (Iran) which would take them at least 2 or 3 months'  travel to reach Jerusalem and then, Bethlehem. I encouraged the congregation to never complain or feel that driving for half an hour is too much of a sacrifice to make to attend church and worship Christ. The Magi travelled 1,200 miles to worship the King of the Jews and brought expensive gifts. The third journey I spoke about was the flight to Egypt on the very night when the angel warned Joseph of the impending danger to the Child's life at the hands of Herod. Jesus as an infant, perhaps 6 months to a year's old and he had to run away from his own country and became a refugee. No doubt their lives were tough in a foreign land, but God took care of them until their return to Israel. So I concluded that these journeys are the reflections of our journeys in this present life on earth. We journeyed by faith in this world, one moment at this place, another moment at another place as the life of Jesus as an infant had shown us to this day.

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